The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court on Wednesday gave the state government two days to clear its stand on snapping water supply to beer, liquor industries and distilleries in Marathwada.
Sanjay Bhaskarrao Kale, a social worker and agriculturist from Kopargaon in Ahmednagar district, has approached the HC through lawyer Satish Talekar, seeking ban on water supply to beer, liquor industries and distilleries in view of the drought situation. The matter came up for hearing before the bench comprising Justice S S Shinde and Justice Sangeetrao Patil on Wednesday.
“The court on Wednesday directed the state government to clear its stand within two days on whether it would snap water supply to the industries for 40 days or the HC might pass an order in this regard. The court also asked the government pleader to take instructions from the government,” said Amarjeetsing Girase, government pleader.
In its affidavit, the government on Wednesday pointed out that there are a total of 129 liquor-related industries in the state. Of these, 99 beer, foreign liquor, country liquor manufacturing units and distilleries, sugar factories are functioning. None of these industries were functioning in Jalna, Beed, Parbhani and Hingoli districts of Marathwada.
While two distilleries or sugar factories each are functioning in Nanded, Latur and Osmanabad districts, there were 11 units in operation in Aurangabad district. The affidavit also pointed out that maximum such industries are situated in western Maharashtra, including 15 in Solapur, 10 in Ahmednagar, seven in Pune and 13 in Nagpur.
While referring to the situation in Jayakwadi dam, the state government said it has made a plan for 105 days to ensure smooth water supply. The administration has communicated that a 20% cut was being implemented in the water supply to the liquor industries and 10% to the general industries.
The government stated that the total storage capacity of Jayakwadi dam is 2,909 mm3, while its live storage is 2,171 mm3. The reservoir has dead storage of 738 mm3. At present, the reservoir accounts for 622 mm3 in the dead storage, of which, the administration would use 270 mm3 for the 105 days.
Girase also pointed out to the court that 2.5 mm3 of storage was depleting every day from the Jayakwadi reservoir on account of consumption, evaporation and silt. It said that only 0.03% was being used for industrial purposes.
Further clarifying on water for industries, Girase said the MIDC Aurangabad lifts 56 million litres of water a day (MLD) from the Jayakwadi reservoir, of which, 22 MLD is used for domestic purposes for villagers and residential colonies in the Waluj industrial area and for supply through tankers to villages. About 34 MLD is being supplied to the industries of which general industries get 29.86 MLD and 4.14 MLD goes to beer and other such units.
Divisional commissioner Umakant Dangat and district collector Nidhi Pandey were present in the court on Wednesday.