The Godavari Marathwada Irrigation Development Corporation (GMIDC) on October 30 ordered the release 8.6 thousand million cubic feet water from the upstream areas towards Jayakwadi dam.On Monday, in a show of unity, different political leaders, farmers and water rights activists blocked the road in front of theGMIDC office in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and closed one lane of the busy Jalna Road for nearly six hours till 5.30 pm despite large police presence.
NCP (Sharad Pawar group) MLA Rajesh Tope, Congress MLA Kailas Gorantyal, both from Jalna, Shiv Sena (Shinde group) MLA Sanjay Shirsat and former Sena minister Arjun Khotkar were among the political leaders to stage a sit-in agitation on Jalna Road. Tope and several others were detained by the police in the evening as they refused to vacate the spot.
Tope told the media that CM Eknath Shinde should immediately order the water release for the Jayakwadi dam. “Marathwada is asking for its legitimate share of water and not seeking any favour. It is illegal to stop the water discharge for Jayakwadi dam when an official order has been issued on October 30,” Tope said, adding that they would boycott of the upcoming winter session of the state legislature.
Water rights activist Narhari Shivpure of the advocacy group Marathwada Pani Parishad accused the state government of using the police to end a peaceful agitation. “The government cannot suppress the demand for water from Marathwada,” he said.
GMIDC executive director Santosh Tirmanwar told ToI that a couple of sugar mills from Ahmednagar district have filed a petition in the apex court opposing the water release. The petition is scheduled to come up for hearing on Tuesday. “The decision on the water release would now be taken as per the instructions of the apex court,” he said.
Water rights activist Abhijeet Dhanokar said it is mischievous on the part of leaders from Ahmednagar and Nashik to create legal hurdles in the water release. He claimed that one of the sugar factories that has moved the apex court — Padmashri Dr Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd — belongs to state revenue minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.
AAP members reach Nashik
Villagers from Parbhani and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar led by Aam Aadmi Party members staged an agitation outside the section office of Gangapur dam in Nashik, demanding immediate water release for Jayakwadi dam. AAP Parbhani district coordinator Satish Chakor claimed that the water was not being released due to “political pressure”. The party has given a two day-ultimatum to the water resources department to release water. “If water is not released by November 23, then people from every village in Marathwada will arrive in Nashik on November 24 and forcefully release water from Gangapur, Darna, Mula and Pravara dam complexes,” he warned.