MWRRA upholds legality of 78 MCM water from Pench reservoir to city

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Sep 2018 10:26:52


Staff Reporter,

The looming threat over supply of additional 78 MCM water to Nagpur City is over with Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) upheld its legality. The Authority on Wednesday said Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has every right to water of Pench Irrigation Project while dismissing the challenge mounted by Adv Ashish Jaiswal, ex-MLA, Ramtek. So in a way arrival of Lord Ganesh brought along the good news for Nagpurians, as any curtailment of water share could have led to rationing of supply in city.

Adv Jaiswal had sought curtailment to additional quota in Pench water granted to NMC, saying it has been extended illegally as the civic body has failed to develop alternate source. The Shiv Sena leader had already approached Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court with similar demand and the petition is still to be fully adjucated. Yet, Adv. Jaiswal approached MWRRA claiming that Water Resources Department (WRD) has acted illegally while extending additional quota in Pench Irrigation Project (PIP) for NMC.

He said the extra allocation to NMC is illegal and it also deprives farmers of their right to get water for the crops, especially during the Rabi period. Adv Jaiswal said while farmers did not get water during Kharif season due to lean season, but no cut was enforced in NMC supply. Similarly, Adv Jaiswal in his petition also contended that NMC owes Rs 84.45 crore to Water Resources Department (WRD).

However during the hearing, State Government submitted to MWRRA that the extra quota in Pench waters to NMC was made permanent in year 2008 only and the issue is beyond challenge. Yes till year 2005 the 78 MCM water supply was temporary to NMC, but same was converted into permanent nature in year February 12, 2008 by State Government. The Chief Engineer, Water Resources Department (WRD) thereafter endorsed State's move and extra supply of water to NMC from Pench project on December 27, 2008. In addition, State in its affidavit brought out the fact that MWRRA was established in year 2010, so the pplicability of sec. 1 of MWRRA (Amendment and Continuance) Act 2011 so the said decision of Government on additional allocation is legal and intact as of today and hence cannot be set aside. The same was upheld by the Authority.

Though NMC might have won the battle but it is still not absolute winner of the war as they say, since MWRRA has laid down several stipulation as to water utilisation in former’s jurisdiction. The Authority has also stipulated that water rights cannot be hold absolute every year and during deficit years or lean season the available stock has to shared with all stake holders