A day after The Indian Express reported that the Railways had sent the administration in drought-hit Latur a bill of Rs 2.16 crore for water trains sent to the region, Union Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered that the “estimate” be withdrawn immediately.
The Rail Ministry said in a statement on Friday that it had sent the “estimated expenditure” in response to a request from the Latur district administration to indicate the cost of water transportation.
However, the district administration denied sending any such request. “From day one of our communication, we have said that in view of the prevailing drought situation in Latur, the bill for water transportation should be waived. Point 4 of our first communication itself makes it very clear,” Latur district collector Pandurang Pole told The Indian Express.
Pole confirmed that he has received communication from officials of the Solapur division of Central Railway that the bill has been withdrawn. “The matter has ended now,” he said.
According to a statement by Indian Railways, recently, the Latur district administration requested Central Railway Administration to indicate the cost of water transportation by railways. In response to this request, Central Railway shared the information on cost of operation in transporting the water. “The issue of settlement of dues is being considered separately by the Railway Ministry,” the statement reads.
Taking note of severe drought condition in Maharashtra, Railway Board immediately arranged 100 tank wagons through its Kota Workshop and dispatched them to Maharashtra.