Following a sting operation conducted by India Today, the local administration at Beed in Maharashtra’s drought hit region suspended those accused of selling water for profit. According to reports, panchayat officer Lakshmikant and Ghyasuddin Zuberi of the Beed Panchayat Samiti were suspended. Both of them were found striking a deal with reporters disguised as businessmen.
The sting investigation revealed that the local officials were ready to sell water tankers of 12,000 litres for just Rs.2,000 each.
People in Solapur gather around a water tanker in the drought-hit area in Maharashtra. PTI
Besides Latur, Beed is one of the worst affected districts in the state. The reporters approached the officials posing as businessmen and told them that they wanted to set up an industry but needed water for the same.
People in Latur filling waters from a tanker. Reuters
In their detailed exposé, the rot in the administration came out. Others whose faces were unmasked were Gopal Gurkhade Sabhapati of Beed municipal council, Beed’s Nayab Tehsildar Kamal Kute and Tehsildar Ashok Nandlangaonkar.
All of them allegedly agreed to flout rules, bend the law and sell their integrity for a few bucks.
The India Today report says that these officials agreed to supply the water in tankers at night and Gurkhade even offered protection from police. And this while the Centre is sending trains full of water to the districts to counter the drought which has affected the lives of thousands of farmers forcing many to commit suicide.