Much like the rest of the Marathwada region, a severe water crisis has hit Aurangabad, an important urban centre in central Maharashtra. The water problem which has been rampant in the city for two decades has escalated so much that citizens are reporting water supply once every eight days in some areas of the city.
The water crisis has added to much worry of Aurangabad residents as the heatwave engulfs cities across South Asia. As if the acute power cuts in Maharashtra were not enough, the water crisis has come as an additional challenge. Now, the water problem is affecting the industries in the Aurangabad region with manufacturing processes in power plants already on a halt.
Citizens in the city have taken to protest amidst the water shortage in the city. Activists in the city have put the blame on the ruling Shiv Sena who has been ruling the Municipal Corporation for the last thirty years, sporadically in an alliance with the BJP. Citizens have alleged that many administrative officers own private water tankers in the city and benefit much during such crises. Citizens have reported a scarce water supply once every eight days, for a minuscule 45-minute window.
Protest by the BJP
Since the start of May, the city has witnessed protests against the administration over the issue. On May 14, the residents of the Pundalik Nagar area led by the local BJP unit climbed atop a public water tank to register their discontent. Now in a recent development, Maharashtra Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis will be in Aurangabad on Monday, May 23 for a city-wide agitation. Fadnavis will be joined by other BJP leaders including Central government ministers Raosaheb Danve and Dr Bhagwat Karad.
Calling it a ‘Jal Akrosh Morcha’, the BJP leaders will participate in a rally alongside party workers and residents in Aurangabad on May 23. The rally will kick off from Paithan Gate at 4 PM and will reach the Municipal Corporation office with a host of BJP workers carrying empty water containers and Cauldrons to stage a symbolic dissent.
Aurangabad’s water crisis
The city of Aurangabad has been facing a chronic water shortage for two decades. The primary reason behind this is the lack of infrastructure to draw water to the city from the Jayakwadi reservoir. In 2005, The state government came up with a project to upgrade the pipelines which never saw the light of the day. When BJP and Shivsena entered into an alliance, it ideated a Rs 1680-crore water project for the city. However, political differences between the parties derailed the project, which was finally scrapped by the MVA government when Uddhav Thackeray became the Chief Minister of the State.
The citizens of Aurangabad however, continue to face the brunt of water shortage amidst the damaging heatwave and heated politics in the month of May.