‘Relocating Thane villages only option’ | india | Hindustan Times
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‘Relocating Thane villages only option’

Relocation of villages in Mokhada taluka to low-lying areas is the only way to solve the acute water scarcity problem in the region, said additional collector Kailash Jadhav. Activists, however, say other methods should be tried first.

india Updated: May 12, 2012 01:30 IST
Prachi Pinglay

Relocation of villages in Mokhada taluka to low-lying areas is the only way to solve the acute water scarcity problem in the region, said additional collector Kailash Jadhav. Activists, however, say other methods should be tried first.

The area, about 120 km from Mumbai, is the most affected in Thane district. Thane is not one of the 15 districts where Maharashtra government has declared drought, though the government has been sending 11 water tankers to some 59 villages in this region.

“The nature of the soil is such that there is no water retention, and I think relocating the villages is the only solution,” said Jadhav.

Villagers in Mokhada have intensified their agitation opposing the middle Vaitarna project, which will supply water to Mumbai from next year. They allege that even as big projects for Mumbai are underway, the government has not done simple repairs of existing bore wells.

“No tanker can even reach our village. We had one bore well, which stopped working last year. Women are walking more than two to three kilometers to get water,” said Gangaram Ghatal, resident of Valvechiwadi.

Activists say relocation is not an option. “People do not settle in places where there is no water. First you cut off forests systematically and then you relocate people,” said Brian Lobo, activist from Kashtakari Sanghatna, an NGO working in the area. He said combination of rainwater harvesting, creating storage and a scheme to bring water will help combat water scarcity.