MUMBAI: The BJP on Thursday criticised the Maharashtra government's decision to restore supply of water from a dam in Pune district to NCP chief Sharad Pawar's home turf Baramati, saying the water meant for farmers "will now be in Pawar's farm". However, a state minister defended the government's decision, saying it will benefit the farmers.
In June last year, the Fadnavis government cleared a proposal to cut off the supply of "unused" water from the left bank canal of Nira Deoghar dam to parts of Baramati, Indapur and Purandar in Pune, arguing that these areas were located outside the notified command area of the dam.
Baramati is the family stronghold of Sharad Pawar, whose daughter Supriya Sule is a Lok Sabha member from there. His nephew and state Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar represents the Baramati Assembly seat.
Hitting out at the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government over reversing the previous regime's decision, the BJP on its Twitter handle @BJP4Maharashtra said, "Water meant for common farmers will now be in Pawar's farm. The government is now helping Supriya to reap Rs 113 crore from her brinjal farming on 10 acre land."
The state Cabinet under Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday decided to equally distribute water from the left and the right bank canals of the Nira Deoghar dam to the command areas, according to an official release.
As per the decision, 55 per cent water will be released in the left bank canal which will benefit Purander, Baramati and Indapur talukas while the right bank canal will get 45 per cent water, which will be utilised for the talukas of Pandharpur, Sangola, Malshiras (all coming under rain-fed areas in Solapur), and Khandala and Phaltan (in Satara).
The water will be made available for the purpose of drinking, industrial use and agriculture. Maharashtra Minister of State for Water Conservation Dattatray Bharne welcomed the government's decision, saying farmers from Indapur, Baramati and neighbouring villages will benefit from it. "We are not diverting water, but it is an equitable distribution of water," he said.
However, BJP Lok Sabha member from Madha (Solapur) Ranjit Naik Nimbalkar expressed displeasure over the government's decision, and alleged that "Pawars have been diverting water for their own benefits". Nimbalkar said it is a matter of livelihood of some "10 lakh people" from Malshiras, Sangola, Pandharpur, Mangalvedha and Mohol talukas of Solapur.
"We are not happy with this water diversion as Pawars have been diverting the water for their own benefits for last so many decades. The BJP government had stopped it, but the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government has reversed it. We will face scarcity once again," he said.
Targeting the NCP patriarch's family, the BJP leader said, "This is is not the government's decision but of Pawars. We are going to protest against it in coming days," he said.