Mumbai: The politics of drought in Maharashtra is turning violent. Two Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers have been arrested after several of them went on a rampage, attacking the Indiabulls office in Mumbai. This came hours after MNS chief Raj Thackeray said that water meant for drought-hit farmers was diverted to private companies.
Raj Thackeray, at a rally in Amravati, warned of consequences if the diversion of water to the Indiabulls project isn't stopped immediately. "There will be severe consequences if projects like that of Indiabulls Pvt Ltd, which require diversion of water, aren't stopped immediately," Thackeray said.
The state government had diverted more than 80 million cubic metre of water from the upper Wardha that was meant for irrigation to the 1350 MW thermal power project of Indiabulls Power Ltd at Amravati in Vidharbha. In September 2012, an NGO had filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court claiming that the diversion of water was in violation of the governor's diretives on usage of funds for backward regions and that the diversion will affect atleast 25,000 farmers directly depriving them of water for irrigation.
Ajit Pawar, it is alleged, had cleared the file for diversion of water to the projects in two days.
Now with Maharashtra in the grip of its worst drought in four decades, the anger over the diversion is expected to spill over. And those like the MNS, too, are sensing a political opportunity.