Amid the water crisis, the State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) has deferred proposals to set up factories in water-intensive industries. In one case, three steel enterprises which had asked for permission to set up a base in Jalna Industrial Park, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), were turned down by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) on the basis that “they did not have a source or arrangement for water”.
The enterprises, which convert scrap into steel, stated that they would each require at least two lakh litres of water daily. On the basis of this, the SEAC, the body responsible for clearing proposals for industries, decided to cancel the proposal as of now and revisit it later. “The water crisis in the Marathwada region is grave this year, with water tables depleting and even a train travelling from Sangli to Latur to supply water. With all the affected districts including Jalna facing this crisis, we decided to defer the decision in giving sanction for the industries. We will take it up later in the year if the monsoons are good,” said TC Benjamin, chairman, SEAC.
When the companies put up the proposal, they were unable to specify which water source they would use or what their water arrangements would be. Since the MIDC hasn’t looked into the issue, the SEAC decided to take the call.
Recently, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asked all the collectors in Marathwada to prepare weekly records of availability and supply alongwith alternate plans to provide water to the drought-affected regions for the months of April and May. One proposal the government is considering is to supply water from coastal Konkan to the drought-affected districts, including Jalna. Other proposals are to provide water from nearby talukas to districts where the situation is grave and the collectors have requisitioned wells and other public water sources. The main affected districts are Latur, Beed, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Jalna.
The SEAC said that in such water crisis, it was imperative that a decision be taken. The Jalna Industrial Area has a large number of steel rolling mills and agro-based units. The MIDC had recently announced plants to set up a biotechnology park at Jalna with the help of the private sector.