A special train carrying about 500,000 litres of water for parched Latur in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, which is battling the worst drought in recorded history, reached the destination on Tuesday morning.
The 10-wagon water train had left from Miraj in western Maharashtra around 11 am on Monday and reached Latur at 5 am on Tuesday, taking 18 hours to traverse a distance of around 350 km.
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“The first batch of 10 wagons, each with a capacity of around 50,000 litres, were filled with water at Miraj railway station in Sangli district,” said Narendra Patil, chief spokesperson of the Central Railway.
The district administration has acquired a huge well near the Latur railway station to store the water, which will then be supplied to Latur town.
Latur collector Pandurang Pole said, “This was a trial run. Speed is not a consideration.” The district administration had earlier imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure around water treatment plants in the region, banning assembly of more than five persons to avoid violence over water.
The second train consisting of 50 wagons is expected to be ready for water loading around April 15, a railways official said. “As per instructions from the Ministry of Railways, Kota workshop received two goods trains consisting of 50 tank wagons each for deployment in drought-affected areas of Latur during the summer season and the trips of the trains will be arranged as per the requirement,” he said.