Pune: To avoid further delays in Bhama Askhed dam project, PMC sanctions Rs 10 crore more for affected farmers

Rs 380-crore project to supply water to Pune delayed, halted by farmers’ protests several times

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has sanctioned an additional Rs 10 crore for its much-delayed project to draw water from Bhama Askhed dam, after the district administration sought more funds to compensate project-affected farmers.

Earlier, in a communication to the PMC, the district administration said it had already received Rs 25 crore from the civic body as payment for affected farmers, but needed more money as the funds sanctioned earlier were not sufficient.

The additional amount should be sanctioned as soon as possible to ensure that the project work is not halted again by protesting farmers, stated the district administration.

The project — to draw water from the dam and supply it to parts of Pune city — has already faced multiple protests from farmers and has been halted several times. Farmers had earlier demanded Rs 25 lakh per hectare as compensation, and they called off the protests only after the state government intervened in the matter. The final compensation amount, agreed to by both parties, is Rs 15 lakh per hectare.

Cash compensation has already been paid to 300 of the 388 farmers, said district authorities, adding that if the amount fell short, there was a possibility that upset farmers would start protesting the project again.

The state Water Resources department has also sought Rs 162.5 crore to divert dam water — which would otherwise have been used for irrigation activities — to supply to areas in the PMC’s jurisdiction.

The Centre had approved the project under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in July 2013 at a cost of Rs 380.16 crore, which involves laying a 48-km-long pipeline and setting up a water treatment plant. The central government will cover 50 per cent of the project cost, the state government will pay 20 per cent and the remaining amount will be raised by the PMC. Nearly 85 per cent of the work has been completed so far, at a cost of Rs 320 core.

Once the project is completed, the PMC will get an additional 2.64 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) per year, which will be supplied to areas near Nagar Road. The project will ensure water supply to Kalas, Sangamwadi, Yerawada, Lohegaon, Dhanori, Vadgaonsheri and Kharadi on Nagar Road.

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