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City unlikely to get water from Bhama Askhed this year as farmers halt construction work

Farmers demand more compensation as senior officials plan urgent meeting to sort their issues.

pune Updated:
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,PMC,Mukta Tilak
PMC is carrying out jack well work within Bhama Askhed dam.(PHOTO HT)

The city may not get water from the Bhama Askhed dam for at least the next two years if the protesting farmers do not immediately withdraw their stir, which threatens to delay the project.

The agitating farmers have stopped the project since last week demanding higher compensation. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is constructing a jack well within the dam by separating water through the creation of a temporary wall. The protesting farmers have stopped the work of jack well and prevented PMC also from doing so.

Officials said that with the monsoon filling up the dam, the water from the dam will soon spill over to neighbouring well which has been erected for constructing the jack well and tunnel below the water.

City engineer Prashant Waghmare, who is heading the project, said that if the PMC is unable to finish the work of jack well within the next week, there are chances that the project would get delayed by at least two years.

“There is an urgent need for intervention in this issue by political leaders and the district administration,” said Waghmare.

According to Waghmare, the contractor has already put up the centring work for the jack well. The rain threatens to increase the level of water of the dam, which may lead to financial loss to the contractor.While the PMC has approached the district collector urging the authorities to intervene, the additional collector has assured to conduct a meeting with the protesting farmers on July 12 at the dam site.

Farmers claimed that when the land was acquired twenty years ago for the construction of the dam, they got less compensation. Farmers allege that they were not given all the information by the administration when the land was acquired from them.

Recently, guardian minister Girish Bapat held a meeting with agitating farmers and assured them to give compensation. The meeting was held with all officers concerned which temporarily satisfied the farmers, who last week, once again, began their strike.

Earlier this year, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also assured the farmers to solve their problems. The administration said that farmers would allow construction to go on for a few days and then resort to protest.

As the project is important for Pune city, the PMC has showed willingness to bear the cost of compensation for the farmers. It was decided that those who had given their land for the dam, the state government will give them ₹10 lakh per family.

Pune mayor Mukta Tilak told Hindustan Times that guardian minister Girish Bapat held ameeting with the farmers on Saturday and requested them to allow the construction work. It was decided to call an urgent meeting with the district collector soon and sort out the farmers’ issues. Tilak said that most of the issues would be sorted out in the meeting and hope that they would allow to carry on the project work.

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