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Third leg of Congress' 'Jan Sangharsh Yatra' to begin tomorrow

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The third phase of the Congress party's 'Jan Sangharsh Yatra' will begin on Wednesday from the holy town of Tuljapur in Osmanabad district of Marathwada region. The Yatra will commence following the blessing of Goddess TuljaBhavani and move across 27 assembly constituencies in Marathwadabefore culminating in Aurangabad on November 1, MPCC president Ashok Chavan stated in a statement here on Tuesday.

The Yatra would be dedicated to raising the demands of drought-affected farmers of Marathwada. The leader of the Opposition in state Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and former Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde among other prominent party leaders will also be part of the Yatra.

"Marathwada has received only 69 percent of average annual rainfall during the monsoon season this year. Consequently, dams are running dry. Why is the Chief Minister playing with the words and not declaring drought?" Mr Chavan asked. The Jayakwadi dam, considered as the lifeline of the region, has just 36 percent live water stock at present as compared to 78 percent last year, he said and expressed displeasure with the government for having failed to release water into the dam from upstream dams in Ahmednagar and Nashik districts, leading to potential scarcity of water in Nanded, Yavatmal, Parbhani andHingoli districts of Marathwada.

To make the matters worse, the government has now started diverting water from the Upper Penganga project, the MPCC chief rued and said he had met both the Chief Minister and the Governor to protest against this diversion of water. "We will not let this government to destroy the future of Marathwada," he noted.

Calling Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' flagship 'Jalyukt Shivar'water conservation scheme as the biggest scam in Maharashtra, Mr. Chavan accused the government of spending money on publicity stunts rather than on concrete policies. Despite having spent crores of rupees, there has been no change in the water tables, he alleged and claimed that the Jalyukt Shivarscheme has only benefited private contractors affiliated to BJP.

The water scarcity has already become a pressing problem in October, then what will happen in the months to come?, he asked.

The Jan Sangharsh Yatra, which covered Western Maharashtra and north Maharashtra in its previous phases, had focused on improper distribution of funds under the government's farm loan waiver programme, irregular implementation of minimum support price (MSP)across the state, rising fuel prices and the plight of drought-hit farmers across the region, the statement added.

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