Bombay High Court asks govt for urgent steps to tackle water scarcity

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed Maharashtra government to take steps on a war-footing to address the issue of water scarcity and drought situation across the state.

"Time is running out. The next two-three months are very crucial. Unless you (government) do something on a war-footing basis there will be disaster. You need to find a permanent solution," a division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade said.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation by H M Desarda, a professor from Pune, seeking quashing of the state government's decision to release one TMC (thousand million cubic feet) water for every 'shahi snaan' at Kumbh mela, as the state is reeling under a drought-like situation.

The high court had earlier directed the government not to release water for the shahi snan and that water should be released only for drinking and domestic purposes.

"It is common knowledge that several villages and cities in Maharashtra are facing severe water shortage. More than thousands of persons (farmers) have committed suicide in Marathwada and Vidarbha region of the state due to drought like situation. If firm steps are not taken immediately then there will be further destruction," the court said.

It further said that the government should formulate a plan to come up with a permanent solution.

The court asked the government to file an affidavit on what steps it will take and posted the petition for hearing next week.

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