A Month after it was praised for coming to Latur’s rescue by dispatching a water train, the Railways has sent the drought-hit district a bill of Rs 2.16 crore for the service rendered.
Latur District Collector Pandurang Pole said the bill was received about ten days ago. “The bill of Rs 2.16 crore is for the initial fortnight. So we assume that the total bill till date will be around Rs 4 crore,’’ he said.
Pole said the bill has been forwarded to the water department. “We are not sure what the rate is and how such a bill has been levied.’’
Central Railway officials in Pune said they had no information about the bill which “could have come from Delhi since it appears to be a policy matter”.
BJP’s Latur MP Sunil Gaikwad called it an “utterly wrong move by the Railways to seek money from drought-hit Latur when it needs help from all quarters”. He said he would take up the matter with the Railway Ministry.
Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the bill reflects “the Modi government’s insensitivity towards drought-hit people… the government is making a business of it”.
Since April 12, Latur has received four crore litres of water. Initially, the train from Miraj brought five lakh litres of water. It later started bringing 25 lakh litres under a full service. The water is provided to Latur city. Before the water train showed up, Latur city used to get drinking water once in six-to-eight days.