Locals of Khadakwasla, along with the volunteers of the Mavala Jawan Sanghatana and Sinhagad Pavitrya Sanghatana, have decided to protect the ‘chaupati’ next to the Khadakwasla dam from the revellers who come for a swim after playing Holi (March 27) and Rangpanchami (March 31).
Former sarpanch of Khadakwasla Nandu Mate, who is spearheading the initiative, said, “After playing Holi and Rangpanchmai, people come to swim in the water meant for drinking and irrigation, thus polluting the water body. Members of the Zavala Japan Sanghatana and Sinhagad Pavitrya Sanghatana are with us.”
Mate said though the irrigation department had constructed a wall near the chaupati it is incomplete, allowing people to sneak in. “We want to stop this practice,” he said Shiv Sena worker from Khadakwasla Bharat Kumbharkar said, “Water body in Khadakwasla needs to be saved from the menace of human interference. With the help of local villagers and activists, the dam water will be saved. We are also suggesting using less water while playing Holi and Rangpanchami, as water is scarce.”
Bharat Thorat, deputy engineer at the dam, said, “We are aware of the half complete wall and misuse of the dam water for swimming, and playing holi. Police bandobast would be in place for keeping the chaupati safe from miscreants.”
No water cut
Executive Engineer from Swargate Division Nandkishore Jagtap said, “There is no water cut on Holi and Rangpanchami. We are providing the city with the regular supply of 1,125 MLD on these two days. Our appeal to citizens is be careful while using water to play holi.”
Human chain to protect the dam
Parag Gokhale, president of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, said, “People use chemical colours and comes to the dam for a swim. The place becomes a battlefield as coloured water balloons and eggs are hurled at each other. This eventually leads to pollution of the dam. We, along with other organisations, are trying to spread awareness against using dam water for playing Holi and Rangpanchami. We will be forming a human chain, comprising 200 activists, at the chaupati on these two occassions.” He added, “In addition, 50 employees from Cummins India Private Ltd would be joining us to clean the chaupati.”