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Water scarcity poses threat, warns Vilasrao, Deshmukh

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has called for greater public participation in managing water resources saying that scarcity is no longer confined to rural areas.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, after the two-day Cabinet Meeting for reviewing the Marathwada Statutory Development Board (MSDB), the Chief Minister admitted that water scarcity is a major issue and Marathwada region is worst hit in the state.

Deshmukh said that water scarcity is a problem not just in rural areas but also in urban areas, where 50 per cent of the population resides.

Calling for greater social awareness and control for managing this fast depleting natural resource, he said that water needs to be used judiciously.

More than 500 tankers are supplying water in different regions in the state, of which 252 tankers are on the roads in Marathwada itself, he pointed out.

The Chief Minister said that 5736 kharif villages and 1671 rabi villages have been declared drought-affected. He said all local bodies, including Zilla Parishads, Ground Water Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) and district collectors, have been directed to assist in dealing with drought conditions.

Regarding fodder, Deshmukh said the situation is not grave. However, provision has been made to set up animal shelters if the need arises. Restrictions have been imposed on the sale of fodder outside respective districts and district guardian ministers have been instructed to monitor the drought situation till June end.

In connection of the waters from Krishna Valley Development project, Deshmukh said that the chief engineer of the Koyna project will submit a report for diverting 21 TMC of water. When queried, he admitted there was delay but added that the administration is working on the directions of the Governor and the issue will be resolved soon.

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