Water cut imminent in Mumbai, Pune, says govt

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Mumbai, Jul 17 (UNI) The Maharashtra government today admitted in the State Assembly that the state is facing severe water shortage and cautioned that it would have to resort to heavy water cuts in big cities like Mumbai and Pune and other areas.

However, not satisfied with the reply and no categorical assurance forthcoming from the government's side to sort out the woes of the people, the entire opposition staged a walked out.

Replying to the discussion on the drought siutation in the state, which continued since yesterday, the opening day of the Monsoon Session, Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar said, ''All the major dams in the state have got only 20 per cent water storage of their full capacity.'' Ujani dam, which had 70 per cent water of its capacity during this time last year, has got minus 20 per cent, which means even the dead water has been used, he added.

Pawar said the government had ample food stocks to meet any eventuality.

Four ministers, including Mr Pawar, Employment Guarantee Scheme Minister Harshwardhan Patil and Agriculture Minister Balasaheb Thorat gave information about the drought-like situation in both the Houses.

Mr Thorat said fertilizers supply in the state was hampered due to the Gujjar agitation, which created adverse impact on railway service.

He defended the government, saying that 91 per cent of the fertilizers were supplied all over the state.

The minister also said the government registered 11 complaints and cancelled the licences of 66 fertilizers suppliers.

Mr Patil said Rs 350 crore have been allocated all over the state under EGS and the government would take up various works including roads under this scheme.

''Fifty-two lakh people may get jobs under EGS, if needed,'' he added.

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