Water supply to Pimpri-Chinchwad is likely to be affected on Tuesday morning due to a ‘pani bandh’ agitation by farmers affected by Pavana dam construction. The agitation was held under the banner of the Pavana Dharangrasth Kruti Samiti.
Raising slogans, the farmers said several of their demands have not been met despite the fact that they were evicted in 1965. Samiti leaders said residents from 19 villages were evicted and nearly 394-hectare land was acquired by the state government.
“The work started in 1965 and the dam was completed by 1973. Nearly 1,203 farmers were affected. Out of these, only 340 farmer families were provided land in Maval and Khed areas. As many as 863 families have so far not received any land… We have been demanding justice for over 50 years,” said a samiti leader.
“The landless farm labourers should be included in the rehabilitation list. The 16-acre slab imposed on farmers should be scrapped. Encroachments should be removed from the colonies where dam affectees have been resettled,” said a farmer.
The agitation continued for five hours, during which the agitators did not allow Pavana dam officials to release water for Pimpri-Chinchwad.
When contacted, PCMC Joint City Engineer Ravindra Dudhekar said the water supply to Pimpri-Chinchwad would be affected, but not much. “The supply will certainly be affected… but there will not be much effect,” he said.
Officials at Pavana dam said they had shut off the water supply to Pimpri-Chinchwad after the agitators forced them to do so. “The Maval tehsildar intervened and promised the affected farmers that a meeting would be organised with the district collectorate to resolve their problems… after which the farmers withdrew their agitation,” said an official.
Officials said the water supply was resumed around 5.30 pm and the pumping of water would continue for seven hours. “The water supply to PCMC areas will be marginally affected,” an official said.