Article courtesy by TNN | February 5th 2013 | Times of India
PUNE: Shortage of water is being felt more than ever as was evident on Sunday when villagers of Ambegaontaluka, located about 75 km from the city, forced open the gates of Ghod minor branch canal of Dimbhe dam to meet their drinking water needs.Villagers said that about 20,000 people living in 11 villages of Ambegaon and Junnar talukas are faced with severe water crisis because the irrigation department has not released water in the canal for the last 80 days.
The Ghod minor branch canal is constructed on the Dimbhe left canal. This canal gets water from the Dimbhe dam, which is part of the Kukdi irrigation division. The affected villages include Kalamb, Lauki, Thorandale, Bharadi, Ranjani, Nagapur Chandoli and Khadki.
Zilla parishad member Mauli Khandagale said, “The affected villages are located at least 5 km away from the rivers, so they do not get water released in the rivers. Hence, their dependence on the Ghod minor branch canal.”
Khandagale said an agitation was held in Narayangaon on February 1 demanding release of water in the canal. “More than 800 people participated in the agitation. Villagers demanded release of water in canal within next 48 hours. When they learnt that water was not released, the gate was opened by them on Sunday afternoon,” he said.
Executive engineer of Kukdi irrigation division Shivaji Bolbhat said, “The people forcefully opened the canal gate on Sunday afternoon. We locked the gate again around 11 pm. Around 3 Mcft (million cubic foot) water flowed into the canal till night. Police complaints have been registered against those involved.”
A meeting was called by the divisional commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh and Pune district collector Vikas Deshmukh on Monday to discuss the issue following the incident. The villagers and their representatives met the collector.
Divisional commissioner Deshmukh said, “We have taken cognizance of the incident. We are discussing the issue with the local representatives. The district collector and the irrigation department have been asked to prepare a detailed plan pertaining to release of water. The affected villages will get water. The plan will be finalized in the next two days. The demands of local residents would be considered while preparing the water release plan.”
The divisional commissioner said the water from the Kukdi irrigation division is given to three districts — Pune, Solapur and Ahmednagar. Hence, the decision on quantity of water to be released for the affected villages will be taken considering availability of water, Deshmukh said.