There's no such thing as a free lunch, a cliche that's true. As a testimony to this, the Indian railways has sent a whopping Rs 4 crore bill for its services to drought-hit Latur.
The railways last month ran special 'water trains' and has so far supplied 6.20 crore litres of water to the parched Latur district.
According to Latur District Collector Pandurang Pole, he received the bill of Rs 2.16 crore 10 days ago. He said the bill was for the initial fortnight and estimated that the total bill till date will be about Rs 4 crore.
"We have sent the bill to the Latur district collector as per the administration's request," Central Railway's general manager S.K. Sood said, according to PTI. He also added that “it is up to the district administration whether to pay us or seek waiver of the amount, through proper channels.”
The first 'water train' named 'Jaldoot' reached Latur on April 12 carrying five lakh litres of water from Miraj. After nine trips, the railways announced the special train with 50 wagons carrying 25 lakh liter water from Rajasthan's Kota.
Latur is among the worst-drought affected parts of Maharashtra's Marathwada region. The Latur city with the population of more than four lakh used to get drinking water once in a week, before the railways begin supplying water.
Latur's 943 villages, meanwhile, with a total population of over 18 lakh have been reeling under serious water crisis due to fast depleting water levels in smaller dams in the district.