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Brace for water cuts from June 25, Ajit Pawar tells Pune

The deputy chief minister, who was in the city yesterday, made the cautionary statement in case the monsoon continues to elude Pune

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar cautioned Punekars to be ready to endure water cuts if the monsoon continues
to elude the city in the days to come.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar
Running Dry: Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that the state would have to take tough decisions on imposing water cuts in the city soon. Pic/Mohan Patil

Pawar was addressing media persons before meeting Mayor Chanchala Kodre at her residence on Sunday. He said that water storage in all four dams that supply to the city had already slipped below the safe mark by June 15, leaving the city in dire straits.

Thankfully, though, he refrained from making any suggestions about what citizens should do to fill up the reservoirs, as he had done in Mumbai earlier. Pawar observed that there is no sign of rainfall across the state, including the Konkan area, which begins receiving heavy rainfall every year by this time.

“Considering the present situation in which rains continue to elude the city and its surrounding regions, the state government has to take the tough decision to implement water cuts after June 25,” Pawar said. While replying to a query on speculations about a change of guard in the state, Pawar said that to change the leadership of the state is Congress’s internal matter.

It is believed that the NCP did not have a good working relationship with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, and it is keen on replacing him. This paper had also reported about calls for change in the leadership from within the Congress quarters, and rumours that Chavan might be sent packing by the party top brass in Delhi.

Chavan has recently visited Congress leader Sonia Gandhi at her residence in New Delhi. “The Congress high command will take the decision on change of guard in the state and we would not interfere in the matter. We are an alliance party and will always work together with the ally,” Pawar said.

On local body tax, Pawar said that the subject falls under the state’s urban development ministry. But a decision on the contentious tax would be taken before the ongoing monsoon session ends.

The NCP leader denied that his party was keen to contest more seats than prescribed by the seat-sharing arrangement between and ally Congress and itself in the upcoming assembly election.

“The decision on seat sharing would be taken by senior Congress leaders and our party chief Sharad Pawar,” he said.
He also condemned the decision of the union government to hike railways fares.

In a related development, Congress’s city wing hit the streets in protest against the hike. Party workers said the hike is arbitrary and the decision should be revoked immediately.

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