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Fearing water riots, Latur imposes Sec 144, steps up police patrols

Small boats to keep a close vigil on reservoirs; moves follow the governement’s decision to impose Section 144 to tackle violence

Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai   March 21, 2016 Last Updated at 10:36 IST
Latur administration to open war room, increase night vigil to prevent violence over water
The Latur district administration will soon open a war room to supervise the law and order situation in the city, following its decision to impose Section 144 for smooth supply of water and avoid any untoward incident.  The city, with a population of 5,00,000, has a daily water requirement of 20 million litres per day, and it has been receiving water only once a month.
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure debars the assembly of more than five persons. The imposition of this law is a preventive measure to tackle the possible violence over water around the Latur civic body-run tanks.
“Section 144 is applicable only in and around the premises of six water treatment plants, which are situated in the outskirts of the city. The decision was taken as a precautionary measure after police started receiving complaints relating to the scuffle over water storage,” Eknath Khadse, the state’s revenue minister, told Business Standard. Around 200 tankers are currently deployed in the city.

Khadse added that he was closely supervising the situation and the district administration had been delegated powers to make all the necessary arrangements for water supply.
Besides, the district administration has also stepped by night rounds by the police personnel to avoid illegal lifting of water or its transfer in various parts of the city. Small boats have been put into service in those reservoirs to keep a close vigil.
Apart from the government-installed hand pumps, there are more than 1,500 private hand pumps where people wanted to fill up water. However, the owners of such pumps had a tough time to convince water-starved residents that they cannot allow to fetch water as the pumps have gone dry.
Inadequate rainfall for the third successive year has created huge water crisis in the city and the entire district — the home district of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Pandurang Pole, Latur district’s collector said that the situation was under control “It (Section 144) has been made effective from March 11 and will be in place till April 1.
Imposition of Section 144 is a prohibitory order to regulate water filling alt the six water treatment plants. The decision in this regard was taken after some members affiliated to political party tried to put road blocks during the water filling.”
Water is currently brought from Arvi, Dongargaon and Malkonji reservoirs as Manjara dam has been completely dried, he added.

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