On May 6, 2019, the Election Commission relaxed the model code of conduct in Maharashtra to enable the government to carry out drought relief. It indicates the direst of situations. Another sharp indicator is the level of water storage in the state’s dams, which stands at 17.57 per cent, as opposed to 30.02 per cent in 2018.
Water level at dams in Aurangabad region, comprising Marathwada—the parched centre of Maharashtra’s fearsome drought—is at 4.93 per cent, as opposed to 25.96 per cent in 2018.
Activists say that if it was clear by October that the state was heading for a drought, the government ought to have initiated relief measures. “Why did it not take action to conserve water and ensure availability of drinking water? Schemes like Jal Yukt Shivar have helped,” says Pradeep Purandare, a water management expert.
Ask Raja Kadam from Hingoli district, who tried to increase output on his 6.5 acres desperately, but failed. “Tankers are...