Five Latur Residents Raise Funds to End Water Woes
Mumbai: Exasperated by the indifference of the administration, an unlikely group of five —a former RSS pracharak, a Congress politician, a rising sugar industry baron, an advocate and a social activist — have come together to solve what successive governments in Maharashtra failed to do—end thirsty Latur’s water woes.
Ashokrao Kukude, Trimbakdas Zawar, BB Thombre, Manoharrao Gomare and Makrand Jadhav decided that there’s no point waiting for help, andinsteadgoneaheadwiththeirown plan. In one of the most daring initiatives ever taken by people in the recent past, Latur residents have decided to desilt and widen two barrages with their own money. While the barrages hold no water now, residents have begun work on them to ensure that when it rains this year, there will be enough water collected in it to last a year.
“We don’t want a favour from western Maharashtra, nor can we wait endlessly for the government to do something. We carried out a survey on our own and realised that even with the little rainfall that Latur gets, we can save enough water if the two barrages are deepened and widened as they can store more water,” said Makrand Jadhav, one of the five. Jadhav said he has done similar work in other parts of the state and has decided to put it to use in his own city now. Realizing that knocking on government’s doors will only delay the project, Jadhav and his team did their own assess- ment and figured out that they would need .₹ 7.50 crore for the venture. They relied on in-house help for the project, including planning for the barrages. For instance, a retired Irrigation department engineer from Latur has volunteered to oversee the work. In only two months, the team has collected almost .₹ 2 crore.
More than1,000 Whatsapp groups have been created, and everyone from local industrialists’ associations to jewellers’ body has been tapped. For instance, doctors in Latur have contributed .₹ 51 lakh. Even students who had studied in Latur are currently abroad are raising funds.
Excavators at Sai barrage in Latur