LokSabha 2019: Tribal villages in Ambegaon taluka call off boycott of LS elections

ST CORRESPONDENT
Monday, 29 April 2019

“We are hoping that the government keeps its word and we get the water supply before Assembly elections. Otherwise, we will be forced to take similar steps at that time,” Sable added.

PUNE: While around 15 tribal villages in Ambegaon taluka had threatened to boycott the Lok Sabha elections this year over the issue of water crisis, after intervention by ministers and the MLA of the area, the villagers have now called off the boycott.

Stating that the villagers were looking for a concrete solution, tribal activist Nilesh Sable, who has been at the forefront of the issue, said the villagers have decided to trust the government one last time.

As Sakal Times reported on April 3, the villagers of the 15 tribal villages that are a part of the Shirur Lok Sabha constituency had decided not to vote due to the serious water crisis that they have been facing for the past 20 years. While the villages are in close vicinity of Dimbhe dam, they do not get any share of the dam water despite facing severe water scarcity.

Water Resources and Water Conservation Minister Vijay Shivtare had given a written assurance that the villages deserve to get six per cent of the water of the Dimbhe Dam. However, caught in red tape, the order was never passed and the villagers failed to get the water in the crucial summer months due to the Model Code of Conduct. This led to the villagers boycotting the elections this season.

However, after the villagers declared the boycott, the political leaders visited them. “Our MLA Dilip Valse-Patil came to us and interacted with the committee of villagers that had been formed to address the issue. Shivtare also came here and told us to withdraw the boycott. He said the order will be passed as soon as possible. Considering the fact that he had helped us once before, we decided to agree to wait this time and will be casting our votes,” Sable, who is a resident of Rajewadi, one of the villages, said.

He added that taking a step back this time will give an edge to the villagers further as the Assembly elections are soon to follow.

“We are hoping that the government keeps its word and we get the water supply before Assembly elections. Otherwise, we will be forced to take similar steps at that time,” Sable added.

“In the end, it’s the solution that we are seeking. We do not mean to disrespect democracy in any way,” he said.

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