Parties blame Pune municipal corporation, irrigation department for water crisis
Saurabh Rao, Pune municipal commissioner said that the irrigation department officials have assured to increase city water supply from the present 1,100 million litres per day (MLD) to 1,350 MLD if the PMC provide more proofs of increase in population.
With the city facing a water crisis, the elected members have demanded Pune municipal corporation (PMC) to allot more water for Pune city. The members said that the water supply should take into account the city’s increased population as per the Aadhaar data available with Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), election commission and other agencies.
Saurabh Rao, Pune municipal commissioner, while replying to the elected members in PMC general body meeting, said, “It is true that the irrigation department is considering the 2011 population as the criterion for water allotment to Pune city. The PMC in a meeting with the irrigation department informed the latter about the sharp increase in population after the merger of 11 villages and the floating population.”
Rao said that the irrigation department officials have assured to increase city water supply from the present 1,100 million litres per day (MLD) to 1,350 MLD if the PMC provide more proofs of increase in population.
The commissioner said that the PMC has warned the irrigation department not to close electric pumps run by the civic authority at Khadakwasla and Parvati. The commissioner visited the Khadakwasla dam and conducted a joint meeting with representatives of PMC and irrigation department.
Meanwhile, the elected members from all parties, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have criticised the irrigation department and civic administration for poor water supply in the city.
Shrinath Bhimale, the leader of House, said, “There is a need to figure out the exact amount of water that should be released by the irrigation department. The department is misleading the PMC and there is no relation between the canal breach issue and water cut. The mayor should hold a meeting with leaders of various parties and irrigation department officials, and if needed, involve the chief minister also.”
Opposition leader Chetan Tupe said, “The eastern part of the city is facing acute water crisis. The ruling party is not serious about the water issue and every office-bearer, including ministers, are giving a different version about the issue. The Pune airport not getting adequate water supply is an embarrassment for the city.”
Congress leader Arvind Shinde said that rules are only applicable for Pune city and no one is raising the issue of water leakage in rural area. “Why is the irrigation department not speaking about micro irrigation?” he said.
PMC approved Rs65 crore for irrigation department
The Pune municipal corporation standing committee on Tuesday approved Rs65 crore for irrigation department as water fee first instalment. While the irrigation department had demanded Rs400 crore, the PMC said that the water fee dues amount to only Rs195 crore. Commissioner Saurabh Rao said that the PMC will only pay Rs195 crore and the water cess will further decrease once the irrigation department approves additional quota as per the economies of scale.
No water supply, no property tax
Deputy mayor Siddharth Dhende criticised the irrigation department and PMC administration for water crisis. He said that the city’s eastern part is facing severe water crisis and Lohegaon area has not received water since last 11 days. “If the PMC fail to provide water to citizens, we would appeal to the citizens not to pay property tax.”