Five Latur Res­i­dents Raise Funds to End Wa­ter Woes

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Kr­ishna.The­var@ times­group.com

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.

MONEY COL­LEC­TION

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

NITIN SONAWANE

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