Mumbai: Acute water shortage gripping Latur in Marathwada today led a group of residents of this town to stage a novel protest: bathing on the steps of the municipal corporation headquarters in the city.
The protest was spontaneous and no political party or social organisation was associated with it, claimed one of the social activists from Latur participating in it.
"Several people of Latur, fed up with getting municipal water supply once or twice a month, staged this protest to draw the authorities' attention to the acute water shortage," the activist said.
The protest comes even as divisional commissioner Umakant Dangat announced a Rs 48 crore plan to lay a new pipeline to bring water from Ujani dam in Solapur to Latur via Osmanabad.
According to the proposal, the new pipeline would be laid between Hatli and Shiradhon in Osmanabad district. At Shiradhon, it would be linked with the pipeline that already fetches water to Latur from Manjra dam.
A proposal in this regard would be sent to the state government soon, Dangat said.
Earlier, the Latur administration was planning to bring water through railway wagons. Latur civic body had already submitted a proposal in this regard to the divisional commissioner. The administration considered bringing water from Ujani, about 35-40 km from Shiradhon.
Manjra dam, situated on the border of Beed and Osmanabad district, had been a major source of water to Latur. But the dam's level stood at just 1.7 million cubic metres (mmcub) of its total 227 mmcub capacity last month.
The dam did not record any considerable increase in its level, prompting the administration to look for an alternative arrangement.
Maharashtra's Marathwada region is grappling with the worst drought in recent years. Latur, part of Marathwada, has reported more than 60 farmer killings due to failure of crops this year.