PMC to pay Rs 65 cr to Irrigation Department

ST Correspondent
Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The PMC is ready to pay Rs 65 crore against the pending water charges to the Irrigation Department after the latter stopped the release of water from the dam to the civic body. 

Pune: On one hand, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar announced starting of JICA project work, while on the other, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), on Tuesday diverted funds of the project to pay water charges to the Irrigation Department. A proposal was tabled before the Standing Committee to approve transferring of funds from the JICA project. The Standing Committee meeting passed it and approved Rs 65 crore to the Irrigation Department on Tuesday. On Monday, Javadekar visited Pune and announced that JICA work will start soon. 

The PMC is ready to pay Rs 65 crore against the pending water charges to the Irrigation Department after the latter stopped the release of water from the dam to the civic body. 

The civic body has decided to divert funds from the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) project to pay the water charges to the irrigation department. The JICA project involves rejuvenation of the Mula-Mutha river. 

During sanctioning of JICA project, Javadekar was holding the portfolio of Environment, Forest and Climate. After sanctioning the project, BJP workers had placed flexes congratulating Javadekar on this project. 

The Irrigation Department is putting pressure on the PMC by curtailing the water quota to make it pay the pending water bills, which the irrigation department claimed to have mounted to Rs 195 crore. The department had also stopped the release of water earlier. 

The irrigation department has pointed out rules framed by the Maharashtra Water Resource Regulatory Authority (MWRRA). It said the civic body used more water than its allocated quota under MWRRA rules. The State government has approved a quota of 11.50 TMC. However, the PMC has utilised more water. Hence, the Water Resource Department has slapped an administrative fine on the extra usage of water. However, the civic body claims the water charges to be Rs 65 crore, which it would pay from JICA project funds. Under the JICA project, 11 new solid treatment plants in different parts of the city are supposed to be set up. The total project cost of the project is Rs 990 crore and has been sanctioned by the Central government in January 2016. 

VG Kulkarni, Chief Superintendent of the water supply of the PMC, said, “The Irrigation Department claimed that Rs 195 crore was pending as water charges. However, we calculated the amount, which came to Rs 65 crore. We have made provisions to pay an amount of Rs 65 crore by diverting funds from the JICA project.”

He said, “We made a provision of Rs 70 crore for JICA project in the budget of 2018-19. But the project work has not started yet. Hence, we have decided to use these funds for paying the water charges. On the other hand, we have received a grant of Rs 32 crore from the Union ministry. So, we can start work with these funds.”

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