Maval farmers stand firm,project cost up by Rs 50 cr

Year after Civic body fears massive cost escalation unless things roll forward; jobs to victims’ kin still stuck in pipeline

Written by MANOJ MORE | Published:August 9, 2012 1:37 am

Year after Civic body fears massive cost escalation unless things roll forward; jobs to victims’ kin still stuck in pipeline

It’s been a year since three farmers died in police firing in Maval during a protest against a pipeline project but their families are still waiting for the jobs they were promised with the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. The PCMC,which is staring at huge escalation of cost of its stalled Rs 400-crore water pipeline project,is at the same time waiting for the Maval tangle to be resolved.

On Wednesday,Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Dr Shrikar Pardeshi told this paper that his administration had urged the state government to hold a meeting to resolve the issue,and has been waiting for a response. The PCMC has stepped up efforts to resolve the issue following fears of the project cost spiralling. The chief minister had said that once the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) submits its report on the project,the government would start talking to farmers to resolve the matter. The report has been submitted and PCMC officials hope things will now roll forward.

PCMC water department officials said cost of the project has already risen by Rs 50 crore. “If it’s delayed further,we fear cost might go up by Rs 100 crore to touch Rs 500 crore,” senior officials said.

Of the 35-kilometre pipeline from Pavana dam to Nigdi,PCMC has been able to lay down only 1,800 mm of a four-km stretch. “We laid down part of the pipeline in PCMC limits only,” said civic project in-charge Ramdas Tambe. Three private parties under a joint venture have taken up the project.

PCMC officials said,“Last year,the Chief Minister had said that once MWRRA submits its report,they would talk to farmers to resolve the issue. MMWRA recently submitted its report to the state government and now we expect the state government to discuss the issue with all concerned.”

The report,PCMC officials said has suggested that PCMC lift water through closed pipeline from Pavana dam for eight months a year and for the remaining four from Ravet bund located within PCMC limits. “We hope this will go down well with farmers,” civic officials said.

Eknath Tile of the Maval Golibar Kruti Samiti,however,said it was not acceptable. “We are firm on our demand. PCMC should not lay down the pipeline. If it happens,we will be left with no water in Pavana.”

Meanwhile,families of farmers who died in the incident said they had been taken for a ride. “I made several rounds of PCMC and even went to the Mantralaya,but in vain. We were promised a job,but for one year we have heard nothing from civic or state officials,” said Chetan Tupe (32),brother of Shyam Tupe who died in the firing on August 9. Kisan Sathe said,“We received only promises of a job,but nothing else.” His brother Moreshwar Sathe was killed in the firing. Kantabai Thakar was the third person killed in the firing.

The three families have received around Rs 10 lakh each as compensation. “The state government gave us Rs 2 lakh each,and from MLAs Fund,we received Rs 5 lakh. Besides,some parties and citizens gave us financial aid. The three families received around Rs 10 lakh each,” said Tupe. “We have kept it in fixed deposit and sustain ourselves using the interest,” said Sathe.

Like Tile,the victims’ families too say they won’t allow the pipeline through their farms. “The pipeline will spell doom for our families,” said Tupe,a resident of Sadavli. “Whether they provide us job or not,we will not allow the pipeline through our farms,” said Sathe.

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