Bollywood Actor Riteish Deshmukh has donated Rs 25 lakhs to initiative Jalyukta Latur as his contribution towards drought relief programme in the west Indian state of Maharashtra.
Under the initiative, people have taken up work of desilting Manjra river which provides water to the area. The “Bluff Master” actor visited the site and was impressed by the work done by Jalyukta Latur and decided to contribute towards the cause.
Latur, about 400 kilometres east of Mumbai, is part of Maharashtra’s drought-ravaged Marathwada region, and its half-a-million residents are reeling from years of below-par monsoon rains. Last year around 1,400 farmers committed suicide in the region over crop failure from a lack of water and an inability to meet loan payments. And officials fear the worst this year as most of Marathwada’s lakes and reservoirs lie empty months before the annual monsoon is expected to arrive.
Also read : ‘Water train’ carrying 10 wagons of water reaches drought hit Latur
Before this, Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar had donated a sum of Rs. 50 lakh to the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan, an initiative by the Maharashtra government. Joining the brigade is actor Aamir Khan, who has shown interest in helping the drought hit state.
Actor Nana Patekar too, has been at the forefront of the issue, distributing cheques to widows of farmers who committed suicide, and mobilising support to send relief in the region. NAAM Foundation, a non-governmental organisation formed by actor and his friend Makarand Anaspure, have adopted two more drought-affected villages in Marathwada. Villages Kutubkheda and Kaudar villages in Paithan taluka are the new additions. In October last year, the foundation had adopted two drought-hit villages Dhondalgaon and Gogalgaon in Vaijapur taluka of Aurangabad district.
Latur city, which has a five lakh plus population used to get water directly from Manjara dam through a closed pipeline. Water was provided once every 8-10 days since the last monsoon. However, after the Manjara dam completely ran dry, water scarcity has doubled in Latur.
Few trains filled with water were transported to the City through Jaldoot Express few days back. The state government has sanctioned Rs 3 crore for the entire project. The idea was mooted by a BJP leader Makrand Deshpande, who is also a member of the Railway Committee, from Sangli.