These villages were supposed to be brought under the PMC’s jurisdiction. The ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had made the recommendation in the revised Development Plan (DP). The recommendation was made keeping in mind the unified development of the entire region.
Superintending Engineer of PMC’s water supply department, A M Patel, said all these villages, collectively, were yet to pay water bills amounting to Rs 15 crore. These 21 villages are Khadakwasala, Ambegaon Budruk, New Kopre, Kondhawe, Uttamnagar, Manjari Budruk, Keshavnagar, Undri, Pisoli, Sadesatranali, Lohagaon, Wagholi, Shivne, Bavdhan Budruk, Sus, Mhalunge, Bhugaon, Narhe, Dhayri, Nanded and Kirkitwadi.
“We want to develop these villages with the city and provide them with adequate water supply,” an NCP spokesperson and former mayor, Ankush Kakde, said. Leader of Opposition Prakash Dhore of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and other political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena, had opposed the recommendation.
“Many civic issues, including water supply, need to be settled first before merging these 21 villages,” Dhore said. In April 2012, for the time being, the civic body had decided to continue water supply to these fringe villages. However, citing the ongoing water crisis in the city, PMC’s water supply department is mulling over 50 per cent water cut to these villages. The civic body provides a total of 16.80 MLD of water to these villages.
“Yes, we are facing an acute water crisis in the city. There will be no option but to implement 50 per cent water cut in these 21 fringe villages,” Patel, said. “We have received orders from our seniors and will enforce the cut if there is no other alternative. Though the villages are yet to pay their respective water bills, suggestions are being made to wait for a few days, and avoid the 50 per cent water cut.”
PMC’s water supply department head, V G Kulkarni, said the entire city, including the fringe villages are already facing 20 per cent water cut. “There is a need to take a firm decision on these villages as the city is facing water crisis,” Kulkarni said.
Executive Engineer of irrigation department, Shivaji Bolbhat, said the water level in all four dams — Varasgaon, Panshet, Temghar and Khadakwasla — is 1.65 TMC and the rainfall received in the catchment areas was only 38 mm.
“The rainfall is still meagre and needs to be more than 200 mm. Only then the present level of the lakes might go up,” Bolbhat said. The villagers feel let down by the proposal to impose the water cut.
“We are very close to the PMC’s boundary and several people from the village go to work in the city. Water crisis has reached its peak and it is the basic responsibility of the municipal corporation to look after bordering villages, including ours. We expect the village to receive the same water supply without any cuts,” Sarpanch of Bavdhan Budruk Vaishali Kamble said.
Purushottam Dharwadkar, sarpanch of Manjari, said it was a known fact that villagers were making several sacrifices for the city and hence the civic body should be lenient while deciding on the issue of water cut.