In a major relief for the parched citizens of drought-hit Marathwada region, the first ever water train reached Latur on April 12 morning.
The ‘water train’ with 10 wagons, each with a capacity of 54,000 litres of water, had left from Miraj in western Maharashtra at around 11 am on April 11 and reached Latur at 5 am on April 12. To bring the much desired water in the region, the train traveled a distance of around 350 kilometres.
The second train consisting of 50 wagons is expected to be ready for water loading around April 15.
Marathwada is facing one of its worst droughts in about 100 years. Seven of the 11 major dams in the region have gone dry. Latur has been staring at its “worst ever” water crisis in decades.
In Latur city, healthcare has been affected as hospitals have been forced to delay or postpone operations because of the water shortage.
As part of the process, the water was lifted from a jackwell in Miraj and pumped to a railway filtration plant, and from there water was pumped into the wagons through an old pipeline system.
The district administration has acquired a huge well located near Latur railway station to store the water which will then be supplied to Latur town.
“As per instructions from the Ministry of Railways, Kota workshop received two goods trains consisting of 50 tank wagons each for deployment in drought-affected areas of Latur during the summer season and the trips of the trains will be arranged as per the requirement,” Chief spokesperson of Central Railway Narendra Patil said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has reportedly written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciating the move to send water to Latur through a train. He is also believed to have offered to send water from Delhi if arrangements could be made to transport it.