Nearly 200 farmers and some industries in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district have been booked for alleged water theft, police said on Sunday.
An FIR under was lodged on Saturday with Kopargaon city police in Ahmednagar under section 430 of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly wrongfully diverting water, against about 200 farmers and some industries in Aurangabad district.
The incident dates back to 2012 when a portion of water released from Darana and Bhandardara dams in Ahmednagar district did not reach Jayakwadi dam in Aurangabad. It was meant to be supplied as drinking water to the citizens.
Sanjay Kale, a Kopargaon-based activist, approached the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court after the local police did not entertain his complaint on misuse of water.
“I obtained information through RTI and was shocked to see that 3.5 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of the 6 TMC water, released from Ahmednagar district, did not reach Jayakwadi dam in Aurangabad. It was released in October, 2012, due to the acute water shortage in central Maharashtra. It clearly means that water was lifted from the river bank without due permissions from the authorities concerned... I started following it up with police officers, including the then Ahmednagar SP, but nobody took me seriously,” Kale said.
“Hence, I filed a writ petition before the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court where the reports submitted by the state irrigation department were discussed and the court directed the police to lodge a complaint,” he said.
Kopargaon city police inspector Suresh Shinde said, “The case has been filed against approximately 200 farmers and some industries. But, the actual theft has taken place in Aurangabad district, near Paithan town. Hence, we will hand over the case to Paithan police station which will further investigate it.”