CM directs to convene inter-state meet over Pench water

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Sep 2017 09:14:37

Staff Reporter,

Alarmed over rapidly declining water storage level in Pench project due to construction of Chaurai reservoir by Madhya Pradesh Government, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday directed to convene an urgent meeting of inter-state river water distribution tribunal to find a permanent solution to water shortage faced by Nagpur district and particularly its rural belt, which is dependent on Pench water for irrigation. Construction of Chaurai has affected the water security of Nagpur and Bhandara districts.

Fadnavis asked the officials to activate this mechanism and organise a joint meeting of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh Government officials with a request to Union Minister for Road, Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari to attend the same.

Fadnavis chaired a meeting about Pench water issue at Mantralaya on Friday which was attended by Guardian Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Chief Secretary Sumit Mallick, ACS (CMO) Pravin Pardesi, Principal Secretary (Energy) Arvind Singh, Principal Secretary (UDD) Manisha Mhaiskar, MahaGenco MD Bipin Shrimali, Municipal Commissioner Ashwin Mudgal, VIDC ED Avinash Survey, Ramtek MLA Mallikarjun Reddy, ex-MLA Ashish Jaiswal and others. Various short, medium and long term initiatives got discussed in this meeting and Chief Minister asked officials to prepare plans for increasing water levels in Pench and Totladoh dam also for building micro-irrigation facilities.

Recently, Zilla Parishad discussed and adopted a resolution opposing Pench water for Nagpur city while NMC strongly flayed the resolution. Nagpur city is totally dependent on Pench water for potable water while those from rural areas have always opposed diversion of water to city pointing out that Totladoh is constructed essentially for irrigation purposes.

Chief Minister also directed the officials to immediately undertake water conservation works near Pench project area, give more thrust on micro-irrigation and spread awareness about water conservation. To avoid massive evaporation of water during transit, the option of carrying water through pipe-line must be explored. Besides, excess water available with Western Coalfields Limited should be diverted to command area of Pench project. Fadnavis also directed VIDC and WRD to study the impact of Chaurai dam on availability of Pench water within next two months and submit an implementable action plan so that appropriate budgetary provision can be made during winter session. 

Fadnavis also directed power utilities to use waste water of Nag river treated at Bhandewadi STP for power generation at Koradi and Khaparkheda and not to release this contaminated water into Gosikhurd. He also asked the VIDC to construct a barrage at Vainganga and Sur rivers in Bhandara district and release the water in tail area of left canal of Pench project.

According to an agreement signed between Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in the year 1964, it was decided that MP will get 35 TMC Pench water while Maharashtra was to get 30 TMC water. But due to poor storage in the Totladoh, MP was getting 24.77 TMC while Maharashtra was getting 20.93 TMC water. On the upper side of Totladoh dam, the Madhya Pradesh had constructed 10 barrages in 70.51 sq km area upto Chaurai dam, due to which catchment of Totladoh was badly affected, leading to alarming depletion in water stock this year. Chaurai had got 56 per cent water from catchment area while Totladoh received barely 20 per cent from the catchment area.

Pench project includes Totladoh, Navegaon Khairi and Khindsi lake and together can irrigate 1.04 lakh hectare land in Nagpur and Bhandara districts. 190 mmc water is reserved for Nagpur city while 67 mmc water is reserved for thermal power plants. Looking at the intense heat and evaporation, at least these dams must have a minimum 350 mmc water to ensure proper supply for drinking, industries and agriculture, but right now total stock has been depleted to merely 290 mmc.