With work stalled for nearly four months on Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC’s) pipeline project to draw water from Bhama Askhed dam to city to overcome shortage, Guardian Minister Girish Bapat on Tuesday made a renewed push for it at a meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Under the project, the PMC has to lay a 42-km-long pipeline from Bhama Askhed dam to the city, which would pass through various villages. However, the villagers have been protesting against the project, seeking compensation and other benefits from the PMC. The protest by villagers is led by Shiv Sena MLA from Khed Suresh Gore.
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“The PMC has so far laid around 18 kms of pipeline but could not proceed further following protests by villagers. A meeting of villager representatives and top officials departments concerned, including the PMC, was called by the guardian minister. There was a discussion over steps to be taken to meet certain demands of villagers,” said Pune mayor Prashant Jagtap.
The mayor said it was decided that the PMC would give Rs 4 crore to Alandi municipal council towards compensation for villages. “The PMC should focus on speeding up the project by paying the amount to Alandi municipal council. The delay in project implementation escalates its cost. So, it is better to pay the amount now and get the project started,” Jagtap said.
PMC’s had set December 2016 as deadline for completing the pipeline project, which was started under JNNURM to meet the increased water supply needs for residents. The project is now proposed to be included under the state government’s AMRUT.
According to sources, Bapat has asked Pune district collector Saurabh Rao to prepare a compensation plan for the Bhama Askhed project in a week for the project affected people.
During the meeting, Bapat also heard out village representatives over demand for jobs to the affected people and asked Rao to prepare a detailed proposal after discussions with the irrigation department, rehabilitation department local MLAs and the villagers.
Of the 1,414 project affected people, 388 had earlier approached the Bombay High Court seeking compensation. However, their representatives are now insisting on an out-of-court settlement and have expressed desire to meet the revenue minister on the issue.
In Tuesday’s meeting, Bapat also promised to follow up with the state government on another proposal for civic amenities worth Rs 14 crore for the project-affected which has been pending.