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Rain plays truant, city may have to face water cuts

Deputy CM says ‘tough measures’ will have to be taken if it doesn’t rain by June 25

Pawar with Mukta, daughter of slain anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, at a function in the city Pawar with Mukta, daughter of slain anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, at a function in the city

Hinting at a water cut, Deputy Chief Minister and Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar has said that if the city doesn’t receive a good rainfall by June 25, “tough measures” would be taken to tackle the looming water scarcity. He said the dams that supply water to the city hold a storage which can only last till July 25.

“We have water storage that will last a month. Every year the city receives at least some rains in the first fortnight of June. This year, however, there hasn’t been any rainfall in the city nor in the catchment areas of the dams which provide water to the city. We shall see how monsoon behaves for a couple of days. If it doesn’t rain we will call a review meeting on June 25 and will take some tough measures,” said Pawar.

This year, the four dams that supply water to the city —  Panshet, Varasgaon, Temghar and Khadakwasla — were storing more water as compared to last year due to good rainfall received this year. This year the 14 TMC water was stored for the city, three TMC more than the usual qouta. As per the irrigation department’s schedule, 33 per cent of the water storage is for drinking, while the remaining 66 per cent is used to meet the region’s agricultural needs.

An official working with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) said the the water supply department of the civic body did not chalk out any water cut plan till now due to the ‘excess water’ allocated for Pune this year.
Meanwhile, Pawar said by August 15, the long-due CCTV cameras will be set up at least at the important and security-wise sensitive venues in the city. He said the tender for installing the CCTV cameras across the city had been finalised and the process of allotting the contract will begin soon.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a function where slain anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar was posthumously awarded the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar award. The award is given by PMC every year. The award, which comprises a cash award of Rs 1,11,111 and a citation was handed over to Mukta Dabholkar-daughter of the slain activist – by Pune Mayor Chanchala Kodre in a function presided over by Pawar.

Following the JM Road serial blasts on August 1, 2012, Pawar had in his capacity as the guardian minister of the city had announced that CCTV cameras would be set up across the city. He had come up with a Rs 30-crore plan, in which the funds were to be contributed by PMC, PCMC and the local MLAs. However, the plan was stuck after he resigned from his posts over a controversy. The state chief secretary canned the plan and decided that the home ministry would install the cameras in Mumbai and Pune.

“In Mumbai, the plans that were finalised were so expensive that it has to be redone. Valuable time was lost and Pune did not get any CCTV cameras. Now the tender for Pune has been finalised and we will make sure that by August 15, cameras come up at least at the most vital locations,” said Pawar.

In the acceptance speech, Dabholkar’s daughter Mukta lamented that even after ten months of the murder of the activist, the culprits and the masterminds were yet to be traced.

“Had CCTV been installed at the spot where Dr Dabholkar was murdered, probably the killers would have been caught. Actually, we can donate this prize money Rs 1.11 lakh to PMC to buy CCTVs but it wouldn’t look proper. Also, it’s not our purpose to create a sensation. But our pain and disappointment be understood,” she said.

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