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Govt to send teams to drought-affected areas to asses water availability: Uma Bharti

PTI 08 Apr 2016, 21:16:24 IST

New Delhi: Central Water Commission (CWC) teams will be sent to drought-affected areas across the country to assess availability of water and prepare reports based on the information collected, Union Minister Uma Bharti said today.

One such CWC team is already visiting water-starved Latur district in Maharashtra and a report in this regard is expected to be submitted "in a day or two".

"CWC will go and assess availability of water in the affected area. We will give this information to states. One team has already gone to Latur. It will give us a report in a day or two," Bharti said.

"We have asked them (CWC personnel) to go to other (affected) places as well and give us reports so that we can send the information to state governments," Bharti said.

The Union Minister further said that water being a state subject, the onus of prioritising its uses though rests with state governments.

"Prioritising use of water, like how much for drinking and how much for irrigation, can be done only by states as it is a state subject. We can only give information on what preparations can be done, like for say, rainwater harvesting," she added.

Bharti said the union government will manage to face the current crisis through various schemes like livelihood programme of MGNREGA this year but insisted that states take measures to save water.

"We must save water and recharge groundwater," she added. The "pro-active intervention" by the Ministry comes in view of grim situation in drought-hit areas like Latur and Parbhani, both located in Marathwada region of Maharashtra.

The authorities in the two districts have imposed prohibitory orders near water sources under section 144 of CrPC in view of possibility of violence given the water crisis.