ALTHOUGH parched Latur city has been getting 70 lakh litres of water everyday from three different sources, the Latur Municipal Corporation is not in a position to reserve a small stock of the available water for its gardens. As a result, gardens maintained by the civic body are either getting drain water or borewell water. Hotels and hospitals are also struggling to get clean drinking water and therefore have no option but to sustain on borewell water, which is considered unsafe for drinking.”
“Before the Manjara dam went completely dry, Latur city used to get 4 crore litres of water from the dam. And now, we have to make do with 70 lakh litre of water. There is a vast gap to be filled,” said Municipal Commissioner Sudhakar Telang.
While the civic body is going “all-out” to cater to the drinking water needs of Latur city, its gardens and parks have clearly been hit hard. Nullahs and gutters are being being blocked to sustain the gardens and parks.
In upmarket Vishalnagar area of Latur city, the Rajmata Jijau park lined with tall shady trees on all, the civic employees have blocked a small nullah and made way for the way to flow into the garden. People entering the park hold their nose due to unbearable stink from the dirty water. Deputy Municipal Commissioner Sambhaji Waghmare said since Latur city is struggling for drinking water, the civic body has no option but to devise ways to sustain the flora and fauna. “Some of our gardens and parks are getting nullah water, while at some places we are providing borewell water,” Waghmare said. Latur civic body maintains 18 gardens and parks.
Shabaz Sayyed, an activist, said Latur already is devoid of green cover. “In the last five-six years in the name of development, they chopped several trees along the roads and widened them. Latur has been turned into a concrete jungle. And now, they are providing gutter water to gardens which is fouling up the entire atmosphere, he said.
Across Latur city — which has a population of 5 lakh plus — every other nullah or gutter is choked. Be it in a congested locality, upmarket area, market or alongside key roads, the scenario is no different. Civic officials said all these days, majority of the civic staff was employed in the task of ensuring drinking water for citizens. “But we have now taken up the task of cleaning the storm water drains…in a matter of days, we will clean up all the nullahs,” said S Raut, who heads the drainage department of the Latur civic body.
Like gardens and parks, hospitals and hotels also have to resort to borewell water. Whether a small popular restaurant or a big hotel, they all are daily purchasing tanker water. “The civic tanker is available after several days. Therefore, we have no option but to buy tanker water. For drinking water, we used pure bottled water available in the market while for other purposes we make do with tanker water,” said a staffer with Embassy Hotel located on Ambejogai Road.
At the popular Garam Masala restaurant, the owner says they use borewell water. “But we heat it at a high temperature.. this ensure that the water become potable,” he says.
Hospitals too are relying heavily on borewell water but deny that borewell is being used for surgery purpose. Dr Kalyan Barmade, secretary of the Indian Medical Association, Latur, said all the hospitals are being forced to purchase tanker water.
A doctor on condition of anonymity said some of the hospitals are being forced to use borewell water for surgeries since they have no option as the drinking water from the civic body is available only after several days.
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“And in upmarket, people have to purchase water every day as the civic body does not supply them drinking water. The civic body says those who can afford, should buy water,” he said.