The NCP, meanwhile, urged the BJP-led government not to politicise issues of water
The Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation (MKVDC) on June 12 sent a proposal to the state's water resources department, asking it to cease the diversion of "additional" water from Nira Deodhar dam to Baramati and Indapur, reports Times of India.
The development is significant since Baramati and Indapur fall under the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, a stronghold of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. The constituency is presently being represented by Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule.
According to the report, additional water released from the canal on the left bank of the dam goes to Baramati and Indapur. The water released from the canal on the right bank of the dam, meanwhile, goes to Phaltan and drought-hit regions of Solapur, including Sangola, Malshiras and Pandharpur.
These three regions are part of the Madha parliamentary constituency, where the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Ranjit Naik-Nimbalkar won this time around. Naik-Nimbalkar had switched from Congress to the BJP, and made distribution of "additional water" an issue during the elections.
According to the report, Baramati and Indapur fall outside of the Nira dam's "command area", and Naik-Nimbalkar had argued that parched areas were being deprived of water because it was being diverted to sugarcane fields— which require more water— in Baramati.
"The diversion of additional water was not legal. There had been a longstanding demand to correct the wrong decision taken by the previous government," Naik-Nimbalkar told the newspaper.
"The people of Madha have been suffering for years. Around 12 lakh people will benefit now," the BJP leader added.
The report, quoting sources in the MKVDC, said the proposal was drafted following instructions from water resources minister Girish Mahajan. Sources also told the newspaper that the regions of Phaltan, Sangola and Pandharpur are likely to get 11 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water as opposed to the five it is getting now.
The NCP, meanwhile, urged the BJP-led government not to politicise issues of water. According to the report, Pawar had last week met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and urged him to rethink in case the government was considering any action.
"This government is politicising the water issue. They must remember that the people who have been getting the water are also citizens of Maharashtra. Politics and water should not be mixed," NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik told the newspaper.
Experts believe that the move is in keeping with the BJP's aim of targeting Opposition parties, particularly the NCP and Congress, in institutions dominated by them.
For instance, in 2016, the state government had amended the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act. This allowed the government to appoint independent experts to boards of cooperative bodies in Maharashtra. This hit the NCP hard, since it dominated the cooperative banks and cooperative sugar factory boards in the state.The BJP government has similarly targeted other areas where NCP-Congress have dominated over decades, including agriculture markets and irrigation industry.The Great Diwali Discount!
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