Jalna, Apr 18: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday justified the move to impose a 20 per cent cut in water supply for breweries and distilleries in Aurangabad area, saying his government's "first priority" is to provide water for drinking.
"The government's first priority is to give water for drinking purpose not to wine factories. I have directed the divisional commissioner and collector to cut water to breweries and distilleries," Fadnavis said.
He was speaking at a multi-religious mass marriage ceremony organised by the BJP and Shivaji Maharaj Smarak Samiti at New Monda here.
Faced with acute water shortage, Aurangabad authorities in parched Marathwada region yesterday announced 10 per cent cut in water supply for the industrial units and 20 per cent for breweries and distilleries in the industrial area.
The CM conceded that the situation in Marathwada region is grim. Appealing to opposition parties to help government tackle drought, the CM said, "though State has debt of Rs 3.5 lakh crore, the government would not hesitate to take loan to help farmers.
The government has already released a package of Rs 10,000 crore for farmers this year".
On the move to supplying water through trains to parched Latur in Marathwada region, Fadnavis said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed Railway Minister to provide water through train to Latur".
He said under Food Security Scheme, 68 lakh families have benefited. On the occasion, he announced a scheme under which Rs 25,000 will be given to a newly-wed couple belonging to SC and ST communities towards financial assistance and Rs 15,000 to those couples from Economically Backward Class (EBC) from general category.
Fadnavis was accompanied by Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse, Education Minister Vinod Tawde, Co-operatives Minister Chandrakant Patil, Minister of State for Home Ram Shinde, MoS (Social Justice) Dilip Kamble and party MLAs.
In his speech, Khadse, who came under flak recently after authorities in Latur district reportedly wasted 10,000 litre water for preparing a makeshift helipad for his tour, blamed media for raising "hue and cry" over a "non-issue".
"The collector there used polluted water for building the helipad but the media blew the issue out of proportion and published news," he said.
Today's mass wedding included couples of different religions, with maximum being Hindu (406). There were 94 Buddhist couples, followed by Muslim and Christian, 14 each. They hailed from Hingoli, Nanded, Parbhani, Aurangabad and Jalna districts in Marathwada.