AS many as 200 villages in Pune district are facing a water scarcity and the administration said it was leaving no stone unturned to ensure that adequate amount of water reaches the affected villages. Over 4 lakh villagers have reportedly been affected by the water scarcity.
District Collector Naval Kishore Ram on Wednesday said over 200 tankers are being used to provide water to these villages but the number of tankers is expected to rise. “Due to the growing scarcity, we expect the number of tankers to go up to 300 by June-end,” he said.
The district collector said they plan to increase the projects under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, as part of steps to help villagers tackle the scarcity. “Currently, 3,000 workers have been employed. We plan to provide jobs to nearly 25,000 labourers in the next one month,” he said.
District officials said some pockets in 11 talukas of Pune district, and 200 of the 1,886 villages in it, have been hit by the water shortage. The district administration has also set up a special complaint cell to address the complaints of the villagers. “We ensure quick redressal of the villagers’ complaints about water requirement,” said Ram.
He said he has also given permission to set up fodder camps at six places in the district. “Nearly 3,000 cattle have been provided shelter and food at these camps,” said Ram.
Tankers were making 450 trips per day and were being monitored through GPS, said the district collector. “Besides providing water via tankers, we are also installing hand pumps. Whichever village demands hand pumps, we are setting them up there,” said Ram, adding that water from handpumps was suitable for drinking purposes as well as household chores.
District officials said the number of tankers in Pune district, over 200, was more than the number of tankers in drought-hit Sangli district, where 187 tankers were on duty. “In the last two months, the tanker operation has increased considerably as water scarcity is growing by the day,” officials said.
District Guardian Minister Girish Bapat said the water scarcity in the affected villages was severe and the administration had initiated steps on war footing. “The situation will turn more severe in the days to come. I am in constant touch with the collector and we are closely monitoring each and every affected village,” he said, adding that water is being provided to farmers through alternate canals.