Beer factories keep hydrated in draught crises allege activists

While Marathwada is facing a drought, water in the region is being supplied to beer factories, alleged Vishwanath Todkar, an activist from Osmanabad.

He shared his experience during the release of a survey ‘Drought report 2019’ in the city on Monday.

Various organisation and NGOs carried out several meetings and studied five drought-affected regions in Maharashtra – Western Maharashtra, Marathwada, Konkan, North Maharashtra and Vidarbha regions.

“Marathwada region is completely dry and people from eight districts and 76 talukas are struggling daily to get drinking water,” said Todkar.

“On the other hand the remaining water stock is been supplied to 10 beer factories near and around Aurangabad which are connected to the political parties,” he added.

“People are now leaving the villages and going to the big cities to survive. We strongly demand that the state government should stop giving water to these beer and sugar factories in the region and divert that water to drought-affected areas,” said Todkar.

The report reveals the intensity of water scarcity in parts of the state. It demands that the state government focus on solution-based suggestions given by the team of experts and activists in the report.

Mohan Survey, an activist from the Konkan region, said, “When we think of Konkan region everyone thinks about greenery and beautiful nature, but the ground reality is different today. Konkan is on its way to becoming a dessert soon, the main reason behind it is the entire region’s water has been taken away by Thane and Mumbai cities. These big cities should generate their own sources of water and not to affect the entire coastal belt of Konkan region,” he said.

“There should be a different drought policy made for Konkan region by the state government and experts from the Konkan region should be taken into consideration for the same,” said Survey.

Sarang Pande from North Maharashtra region said, “On one hand, there are five districts in north Maharashtra where some talukas in these regions are permanently drought-affected. The reason is they are all rain shadow areas and the rainfall here is never gone above 400 mm. On the other hand, the Jalyukta Shivar programme of the state government has completely failed.”

Talking about the effect of drought on women, Neerja Bhatnagar of Action Aid Association, said, “When a village faces a drought the most affected section of the society is women, as they have to daily struggle to get water for their families. They are even harassed by people over water issues.”

“There are cases where men have married young girls just for they would bring water in the houses daily,” said Bhatnagar.

First Published:
May 28, 2019 16:35 IST

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