With just over a year to go for civic polls, the ruling BJP and opposition NCP in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) have clashed over commissioning of the Rs 447-crore civic project to draw water from Bhama Askhed dam to city.
The BJP has declared that once completed, the water supply project will be inaugurated by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, while NCP leaders have said it should be inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister and Pune Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar.
The water supply system is expected to ensure sufficient water for over 5 lakh Pune residents in Kalas, Sangamwadi, Yerawada, Lohegaon, Dhanori, Vadgaonsheri and Kharadi on Nagar Road.
BJP leader and Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol said the Bhama Askhed project would be completed soon and the water woes of the eastern parts of the city will be resolved once the project is commissioned.
“The PMC will get 2.8 TMC water from Bhama Askhed every year. It will meet the water needs of the eastern parts of the city till 2041. It will ensure regular and sufficient treated water to citizens…,” he said.
The project involves construction of a 48-km long pipeline from Bhama Askhed dam to the city, which passes through various villages on the way to Pune, as well as a water treatment plant and pumping station. While the project was started back in 2014, and was supposed to be completed by July 2017, it has been stalled several times due to protests by villagers who will be affected by it.
“… The project was delayed due to political obstacles, rehabilitation issues and legal challenges. It was all due to the controversies created by NCP representatives,” claimed city BJP chief Jagdish Mulik, a former MLA of of Vadgaonsheri, one of the areas which will benefit from the project.
He said it was only due to the intervention of then chief minister Fadnavis that the “problems of rehabilitation of project-affected people were resolved”. “The completed project will be commissioned by Fadnavis and the function would be presided over by the state BJP chief,” said Mulik.
NCP MLA Tingre, who represents Vadgaonsheri in the state assembly currently, said the BJP was trying to take credit for the project which, he claimed, was delayed during the BJP-led government’s tenure while the project cost escalated by Rs 100 crore.
“The project was approved by the NCP-Congress government in 2013 under the guidance of… Ajit Pawar,” he said. Pawar was then the state irrigation and water resources minister, as well as the guardian minister of Pune.
“The implementation of the project was delayed during the BJP’s rule and the project cost increased by Rs 100 crore. Last year, after Pawar was once again appointed the guardian minister of Pune, he pushed for speedier completion of the project and got it done,” said the NCP leader.
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