While the water train to drought-hit Latur is grabbing all national attention, Rajasthan, too, is supplying water through train to Bhilwara district, one of the state’s 19 districts staring at drought as the summer sets in.
In fact, more than half of Rajasthan faces water scarcity and drought-like conditions, with villages in western and southern Rajasthan being the worst hit, according to the state government.
Nineteen of the state’s 33 districts are staring at drought and severe water scarcity, and the Revenue Department has identified 17,000 out of 44,672 villages as “famine-affected areas”. Minister of Public Health and Engineering Kiran Maheshwari, however, said the government is ready, and that the department has started working towards containing the crisis.
“We were prepared for such a situation and had put in place a contingency plan in February. Water is being supplied to affected areas through trains and other means,” Maheshwari told The Indian Express.
The department has sanctioned new handpumps and wells to resolve the persistent issue of wells drying up, especially in western Rajasthan, flanked by the Thar desert. “Besides arrangements for water supply, we have sanctioned Rs 50 lakh to each affected district to take up works for improving water supply,” she said.
The worst hit districts are Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Ajmer, Nagaur, Pali, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Baran, Jaipur, Hanumangarh, Jalore, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, Rajsamand, Pratapgarh and Udaipur.
The Agriculture Department is yet to issue a statement on how this drought-like condition would affect the state’s farmers. “Right now, the problem is drinking water scarcity, which is being looked into by PHED,” an official in the Agriculture Ministry told The Indian Express. “We are yet to assess the effects of the situation on farmers. It wouldn’t have much impact on crops since much of the harvest has already been done.”