The Jaldoot Express, which has been providing water to parched Latur from Miraj, has come to a grinding halt for the past three days as the water level in the Krishna river has gone down considerably, affecting the drinking water supply in Latur city. However, railway and district officials said the train will re-start its journey from Tuesday.
Krishnat Patil, operational manager of Pune division of Central Railways, said they could not fill the 50 wagons of Jaldoot as the Krishna river level has gone down drastically. “For past three days, Jaldoot has not made its way to Latur. Our jackwell has no water as the Krishna river level has dropped down,” he said.
However, Krishnat said since the irrigation officials have told them that they have released water from Warna dam — located about 100 km from Miraj railway station, they would be able to send Jaldoot Express to Latur from Wednesday. “The water released from Warna dam is expected to reach Krishna river in Miraj on Tuesday. Therefore, at least by Wednesday we should be able to send the train,” he said.
Latur Municipal Commissioner Sudhir Telang told Indian Express that the non-availability of 25 lakh water from Jaldoot Express has affected the drinking water supply to Latur city.
“However, the impact is not much as we are managing the situation by lifting additional water from our other two sources of drinking water.”
Telang said apart from the water train, they were getting drinking water from Lower Terna dam and the Dongargaon water projects.
“We have been lifting 35 lakh litre water from Lower Terna dam, but for past couple of days we are lifting 45 lakh litre water. Similarly from Dongargaon, we were lifting 18 to 20 lakh litre. But now we are lifting 25 lakh water. We have been able to manage thus far, but we will not be to do so for too long,” he said.
Jaldoot Express started from April 11. Initially, 10 wagons were bringing 5 lakh litres of water. Later, the full-fledged train was started which brought in 25 lakh litres of water every day. Railway officials said this was the first break but due to “technical problems” faced by the irrigation department and not from the railway side.
BJP leader Makrand Deshpande, on whose suggestion the state government had started the train service, said there seem to be some communication gap between officials which resulted in the sluice gates of Warna dam remaining closed.
“Some of the sluice gates of Warna dam which had remained closed for eight years could not be opened as they were jammed. They have now been opened and the water has been released. It is expected to reach Miraj by Tuesday when the wagon filling work will immediately start. We expect the Jaldoot to leave Miraj on Wednesday itself,” he said.