Pune: The Irrigation Department is demanding Rs 162 crore as cost of water from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) which has not used even a single drop of water as the Bhama-Askhed dam pipeline project has not been completed. The PMC had carried out the work to lay the pipeline from Bhama-Askhed dam to Pune to quench the thirst of the eastern part of the city, but as the project was not completed, the civic body did not use water from the dam.
The civic body will have to pay the amount as compensation for likely loss of agriculture, as dam water was reserved for drinking purposes instead of agricultural activities. A proposal has been put fourth by PMC Water Supply Department for approval in the Standing Committee to divert money from other development work of corporation.
According to PMC officials, initially, the cost of the project was Rs 380 crore. However, it has now gone up to Rs 545 crore after paying Rs 162 crore to the Irrigation Department. Till date, the PMC has spent around Rs 280 crore on the pipeline from the dam to Pune jurisdiction.
VG Kulkarni, Head of Water Supply Department of PMC said, “The Irrigation Department has sent a letter to the PMC and demanded Rs 162 crore as loss of agriculture water as it was reserved for drinking purpose. They are claiming it from 2001 to till date. However, we have not used any water from the dam. ”
The project was started for the benefit of 14.50 lakh people staying in the eastern part of the city.
Under the project, it was decided to lay 42-kilometre pipeline from Bhama-Askhed dam and get 2.8 Thousand Million Cubic feet (TMC) water to the city. Out of that, more than 60 per cent work has been completed till date. The project had set a deadline of July 2017 and was later revised to July 2018 due to protests by local farmers. But right now, work has not started and the deadline has been extended.