PMC wants protection to restart dam project

ST CORRESPONDENT
Thursday, 9 May 2019

The project will quench the thirst of around 14.50 lakh citizens in the city, which, at present, is not getting enough and regular drinking water.

PUNE: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has once again asked for police protection to complete the long-pending Bhama-Askhed water project, which will bring drinking water to the eastern part of Pune through a pipeline. 

On Wednesday, Municipal Commissioner Saurabh Rao sent a letter to the commissioner of police, Pimpri Chinchwad, to provide a police force to restart the jack well work for the Bhama-Askhed dam. Project affected villagers had stopped the work in July 2018 to demand compensation in the form of land instead of cash. 

“The jack well is a major part of the project. On Wednesday, District Collector Naval Kishor Ram and senior police officials from the Pimpri Chinchwad police commissionerate held a meeting, in which we requested to the police to provide protection so that we can restart work this week. The PMC is ready to pay cash compensation to the project affected villagers,” said Rao. 

According to civic officials, the villagers demanded land in Khed taluka, which was acquired during the construction of the dam. There are around 1,400 villagers, whose around 2,500 hectares of land was acquired. Now, these villagers want land specifically in Khed taluka and not anywhere else in the district. In 2017, the project affected villagers had stopped work of the project. The police had provided protection and the civic body restarted the work, which was again stopped by the villagers in July 2018. 

Civic officials said there is no land available in the Khed taluka, to give to the villagers. The State government finalised a rate of Rs 15 lakh per hectare as cash compensation for the villagers. In the first instalment, the PMC handed over cheques amounting to Rs 5 crore to the district administration. 

The project will quench the thirst of around 14.50 lakh citizens (estimated in 2014) in the eastern part of the city, which, at present, is not getting enough and regular drinking water. The municipal corporation planned the project in 2014 to bring 2.64 TMC (Thousand Million Litre per cubic feet) of water from the dam to Pune. The deadline for the project was July 2017, which was later extended a couple of times.

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