The ‘water train’ controversy in UP has taken a new turn which has now triggered a war of words between the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government.
The train, which was stopped by the Uttar Pradesh Government on May 5, arrived in Jhansi on May 6 but without the promised 70,000 litres of water.
The train was sent from Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam District on May 4 and was meant for the district of Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh, facing water crisis much like Latur in Maharashtra.
The news about the water train not containing the promised quantity of water was confirmed by Vijay Kumar, chief public relations officer of North Central Railway (NCR).
Though he could not explain why there was no water on the concerned train, he added that North Central Railway offices have been instructed to assemble the rake of water tankers and be sent to Jhansi to fill the train up.
Earlier this week, the Uttar Pradesh government had declined to receive the water train from the Centre even before the word about the tankers being empty got out.
According to Principal secretary (revenue) Suresh Chandra, a meeting was held with NCR’s deputy regional manager along with Mahoba and Jhansi district magistrates on May 3 where they told them that Bundelkhand was not facing crisis akin to Marathwada and asked them to supply water when asked.
Few hours after this meeting, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav wrote to Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti seeking 10,000 water tankers (via road).
Earlier in the week Bharti had called Yadav “egoistical” for refusing the Centre’s help with regards to providing water.
Yadav had said that the region still contains enough water and added that state government faced logistical challenge of supplying water to far flung areas, where water could not reach via train and only tankers could supply it.