Negligent administration, poor water management, extreme weather events, inadequate rainfall have been blamed for the drought in Marathwada. Help has trickled in, but not enough to make a difference. Trains with 50 wagons carrying 25 lakh litre water to Latur have been ceremoniously named Jaldoot Express. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured more water rakes for drought-hit Latur. Even Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had promised help when the first train was sent to Latur. But the number of farmers’ suicides reported in the first three weeks of April in Marathwada reveals that relief is nowhere in sight.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

As many as 65 farmers in Marathwada have committed suicide in April, reported The Times Of India. It further said that the highest number of suicides was reported from Beed – 60, followed by Aurangabad and Nanded. Latur reported 44 farmer suicides. Burdened with crippling debt and three years of drought, over 300 farmers have ended their lives this year. Farmer suicides were also reported from Osmanabad, Jalna, Parbhani and Hingoli districts.

District administration officials have instructed health care workers and doctors to extend help to distressed farmers and “boost the morale of farmers.” Officials told The Times Of India that 146 cases are eligible for compensation, 117 cases are pending and around 75 claims have been rejected so far.

Meanwhile, central teams will study drought-affected areas in the country till June this year and prepare a long-term plan of possible actions to tackle the calamity. The Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) teams have been asked to analyse the causes leading to drought in these areas and identify water resources management challenges.

The teams will also figure out gaps in water information and plans to recharge, long-run solutions and suggest measures for protection, management and restoration of water bodies, the statement said.

According to a DNA report, two new water rakes would be deployed on a shorter route to Latur. Water from Dudhana river will be sent to Latur via Partur instead of Miraj.

The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday ordered 50 percent water cuts for breweries in Marathwada from 10 May. A bench of Justices SS Shinde and Santeetrao Patil said that it was inhuman that breweries were enjoying a lavish supply of water, when people had not seen water for days.

Apart from breweries and distilleries, the court has also increased the water cut for other industrial units by 5 percent from the initial 20 percent starting 20 May.

With inputs from PTI

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Marathwada drought: 65 farmer suicides reported in April, highest in Beed