The NDA government in Maharashtra is mulling over to reduce ‘excess’ water supply for agriculture to Baramati, the hometown of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, as it believes that the area has been getting more water due to political influence.
On the record, the government’s reasoning is that the ‘excess’ water for Baramati and Indapur tehsils in Pune district can be used to provide relief to drought-hit areas in neighbouring Satara district. Indapur is a stronghold of Harshwardhan Patil of the Congress.
State Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan Wednesday said the Neera left bank canal supplies water to Baramati and Indapur from the Bhatghar dam in Pune district. It seems Baramati and Indapur are getting more water than their requirement, the minister said implying that political influence wielded by Pawar could be the reason behind ‘excess’ water supply to Baramati. “If some of the water supplied to Baramati and Indapur tehsils are saved, it can be supplied to drought-hit areas of neighbouring Satara district.
We cannot supply excess water to some areas and deprive others,” Mahajan said. Political grapevine is that the move is aimed at cornering Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar on their home turf in Pune district, ahead of the assembly elections due in September-October this year.
Ajit, a former deputy chief minister who had also handled Water Resources portfolio in the erstwhile UPA government in the state, is the MLA from Baramati while the Pawar senior’s daughter Supriya Sule is the local MP. When his comments are sought, Ajit said, “I don’t know whether Girish Mahajan has issued any such order, but he must know that water is for everyone. I will wait for the official decision of the state government”.
Harshvardhan Patil told reporters that the water supplied to Indapur is for farmers. “The government cannot point finger at farmers from one region to cut the water supply of others. Whatever is the due share of Indapur, it should not be cut,” he said.