Landscaping and gardening work at the world heritage site of Ajanta Caves complex in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district is affected as the water supply, disconnected in 2019 for non-payment of dues, is yet to be restored.
We are somehow managing drinking water through natural resources of caves, but gardening remains hampered, an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) official has said.
The issue remains unresolved even after the visit of state Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray to the Ajanta Caves in January.
The water to the Ajanta Caves site is supplied by the Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (MJP). But the supply was disconnected in 2019 due to the pending dues which were supposed to be paid by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) to the MJP, the official said.
ASI superintendent (Aurangabad circle) Milan Kumar Chauley said the pending dues run into Rs 3.2 crore, which are supposed to be paid by the MTDC to the MJP.
"Due to the unpaid bill, the water connection to the Ajanta Caves Complex was disconnected in 2019. This has hampered the landscaping and maintenance of the garden, which is frequented by tourists," he said.
Chauley said the issue was raised with Aaditya Thackeray when he visited Ajanta Caves but it is yet to be resolved.
"We have set up an RO system over the caves for drinking water and a chiller for tourists. As of now, we don't face any scarcity of drinking water as we are using the natural sources in the caves," he added.
He said the ASI was planning to install 3-4 bio-toilets that need less water. "This plan had worked effectively earlier in Hyderabad and Mumbai," he added.