In a major decision, the state government on Monday handed over the Rs 900-crore Kondhane dam project to the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to meet the drinking water demands in the 644 square km Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA). The project includes 270 villages. The move has changed the purpose of the project from irrigation to tackling the challenge of drinking water in the upcoming NAINA township.
The Kondhane dam project, which was under the ministry of water resources, will now be developed by CIDCO.
Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said, “The project will be handed over to CIDCO with clear terms and conditions. The anti-corruption bureau (ACB), which is probing financial irregularities in the ongoing project, will continue the probe.”
The government has also sought a no objection certificate from ACB for handing over the project to CIDCO. Former NCP minister for water resources Sunil Tatkare and several officials were facing a probe over the irrigation project. The investigations are still under way. The government’s decision aims to meet drinking water needs in the wake of growing urbanisation in Navi Mumbai and its adjoining satellite township. NAINA has further fuelled the demand.
The Navi Mumbai International Airport site is located 8 km from the Kondhane dam.
The government has laid down ten terms and conditions for CIDCO to comply with, including revenue sharing and seeking clearances from multiple authorities. The Kondhane project, which was under the Konkan Development Corporation, will now require CIDCO to put in funds.
“CIDCO should provide the funds and take care of payments to contractors for the construction works and acquire all the requisite permissions from various authorities,” the ministry of water resources stated. Further, the CIDCO has to furnish the ACB with information required in the ongoing investigation. CIDCO has also been asked to comply with the guidelines of the Maharashtra State Water Regulatory Authority. The 438 hectares of land acquisition would require CIDCO to coordinate with the revenue department as well.
Out of the total 105 TMC water, 10.55 TMC water rights would be reserved with ministry of water resources to meet irrigation requirements as and when necessary. While 118 families will have to be rehabilitated for the project, the land acquisition would include 298 hectares of forest land due to increased height of the dam.