Mumbai, April 19: A BJP activist here on Tuesday, April 19 urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to stop 'VVIP helicopter tourism' by various state and central ministers to drought-hit areas to prevent wastage of precious water in Maharashtra.
In a letter to Fadnavis, BJP activist Dayanand Nene said over 10,000 litres of water was wasted to prepare a temporary helipad for receiving the helicopter of union Agriculture Minister Radhemohan Singh and state Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse in Bhiwandi town of Thane on Monday (April 18).
"What we saw was terribly disturbing, especially since an unprecedented 60 percent water cut has been imposed in Thane. It was all the more alarming since Bhiwandi is just 20 minutes driving distance from Thane city where there is a regular helipad," Nene said.
He and many others questioned what prevented the two VVIP from landing the chopper in Thane and then driving down by road to Bhiwandi as that would have saved such a large quantity of water in the thirsty district.
"On one hand the government is trying its best to deal with drought conditions in the state with a landmark decision of supplying water through trains to Latur, on the other nobody pays attention to such colossal wastage of water during VVIP visits by helicopters," Nene said in his letter to Fadnavis.
Nene, who is also president of NGO Alert Citizens Forum of India (ACFI), said the government must issue a circular, immediately barring VVIP helicopter visits to places where there are no helipads.
They can take the helicopter to the nearest helipad point and from there drive down to their destination so that mockery of people's misery is not made of, Nene said.
This is the second such incident in which huge quantity of water was wasted during a flying visit by VVIPs in Maharashtra.
Last Friday (April 15), Khadse came under severe fire from all quarters for wasting water during a helicopter trip to Belkund village, barely 37 km from Latur, ironically to inaugurate a new water supply scheme.
On Monday (Yesterday), Water Conservation Minister Pankaja Munde was trolled by the opposition parties for indulging in 'drought tourism' and clicking selfies with a trench of a barrage Manjara, which was one additional relief to parched Latur.
Earlier, Munde had even thrown her weight as minister behind the ongoing continuous supply to liquor manufacturers in Aurangabad on grounds that stopping water to them could lead to unemployment.
However, district collector Nidhi Pandey announced a 20 percent water cut to distilleries and 10 percent cut to industries which will improve the drinking water situation in the district, a move that Fadnavis endorsed.