Mumbai Local

Don’t fill up Gunjavane dam till rehabilitation is over: NGT

In a major relief to those affected by the Gunjavane dam project, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Maharashtra government to refrain from storing water in the reservoir until the rehabilitation of the affected villagers was fully completed.

Acting on a petition filed by the project-affected people in April, the NGT bench directed that the gates of the dam not be operated till the rehabilitation was effectively finished. It further observed that the project was on forest land, for which no permission was taken by the Maharashtra government.

Work on the dam, located 60 km from Pune in the mountain ranges of Velhe Taluk, began in 1993, but was halted in 1999 owing to major rehabilitation issues, with nearly 400 families, chiefly from Bhor and Velhe Taluks, affected by the project.

It was restarted in 2014 and is now nearing completion. The dam has a capacity of 5 TMC ft (thousand million cubic feet) and is expected to benefit Bhor, Velhe and parts of Purandar and Satara near Pune.

In their petition, the villagers had alleged that of the 400 families, more than 220 families were yet to be allocated land.

Casual approach

Expressing disappointment about the State’s “casual approach” on the rehabilitation issue, it dismissed the State pleader’s petition that the relocation was in its last stages.

The Bench refused to entertain the State’s claim that it would complete rehabilitation before June 30, directing the government to file an affidavit after the relocation of families was thoroughly completed.

Only then, ruled the Bench, would the NGT consider a modification in the order. “We are glad at the NGT’s ruling. It comes as a relief for all dam-affected people,” said advocate Suresh Palande, representing the petitioners.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 9:39:02 PM |

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