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Jan 02, 2013 at 08:35am IST

Maharashtra fights severe drought, villages migrate in search of water

Marathwada: As north India battles the cold, Maharashtra is facing a crisis of another sort. There is a severe water crisis in Marathawada, which is forcing entire villages to migrate in search of water and jobs.

People migrating is a familiar sight today in Maharashtra's Osmanabad district which among the worst affected in the Marathwada region hit by drought.

In neighbouring Jalna, residents are supplied water once in a month and sometimes that wait stretches to 45 days. Having to rely on private tankers, locals say their monthly budget is spent in buying precious water.

So desperate is the situation Marathwada that Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has suggested mass migration if the situation continued. Across Jalna, Osmanabad, Beed and Aurangabad with no water or fodder, cattle are being sold.

The extent of the crisis speaks for itself, what looks like arid farmland now, is in fact the Khasapuri dam. The dam is so dried up that cracks have developed along its length.

Railway wagons, the government suggests, could be used for carrying water to the affected areas. The contingency fund has been increased in the hope of militating the crisis - the worst in at least a decade.

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