Maharashtra braces for a ‘dry’ Holi

Mumbai, March 16 (IANS) With the spectre of a severe drought looming large, Maharashtra will celebrate a ‘dry Holi’ this year to conserve water for the next 100 days before monsoon.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday appealed to the people to celebrate a ‘dry Holi’ on account of severe water shortage across the state.

“I am not saying don’t play Holi. Let’s play a dry Holi without water. Use less water. I appeal to all in the state to celebrate the ensuing festival of colours as a dry Holi,” Fadnavis said at a water awareness programme here on Wednesday evening.

The popular festival will be celebrated across the country on March 23, followed by Rangpanchami on March 24.

Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said swimming pools and water theme parks have been ordered to remain shut till the commencement of the rainy season in mid-June.

Similarly, rain dances in five-star hotels, resorts, bungalows of celebrities and housing complexes will also be curbed this year due to the water crises.

Some BJP corporators in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation have demanded that a stiff penalty of Rs.50,000 be slapped on those violating the rules and wasting water during Holi.

Mahajan told mediapersons that all municipal corporations in the state have been issued directives on this to save every drop of water and make drinking a priority.

The minister informed that the state barely barely 25 percent water left in its reservoirs while in the parched Marathwada region, the situation is critical with just five percent water left.

“In such a scenario, nobody will be allowed to waste water. We must save every available drop,” a grim Mahajan said.

Elsewhere in the state, the Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation has launched a water conservation awareness week before Holi, Pune, Nashik, and Thane Municipal Corporation has barred water supply, including through private tankers, for any Holi revelry.

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