Decisions on water supply in the state seem to depend on personal and political gains, not rightful allocations

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Press release - April 20, 2014
Mumbai, 19th April 2014: Allegations have been raised by opposition parties that the Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar "threatened" farmers in Baramati tehsil before the second phase of Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra, to disconnect their water supply if they did not vote for the NCP candidate Supriya Sule.

Last year, Pawar had also made insulting statements about urinating in dams, while addressing a meeting in Indapur, Pune district, in response to farmers demanding water for irrigation. This was when the state was experiencing its worst drought in 40 years.

"The Deputy CM's callous and dismissive approach towards serious issues regarding water in the state, have been repeatedly making rounds in the media. His latest remarks in the alleged video only add to his insensitivity towards the plight of Maharashtra's farmers and their struggle for water," said, Jai Krishna, Campaigner, Greenpeace India.

These alleged statements about "disconnecting water supply to farmers" should be seen along with the allocation of hundreds of million cubic metres (MCM) of irrigation water from dams to thermal power plants and industries, which were given away by Pawar as the chairman of the then High Powered Committee on water allocations between 2003-11. It is assessed that at least 1.5 lakh hectares of farmland will be affected by the allocations made just for thermal power plants distressing thousands of farmers (1).

"It appears from these actions, statements and allegations that the Government of Maharashtra has no intention to ensure irrigation to farmers. Decisions on water supply seem to depend on personal gains of politicians rather than statutory bodies like Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority without any consultative processes. If the government is serious about farmer's livelihoods, it should revoke all water allocations to thermal power plants and review every water allocation along with the farmers affected by it," added Jai Krishna.

For more information, photo and video contact:

Jai Krishna. R, Campaigner, Climate and Energy, Greenpeace, +91 9845591992,

Bhagwan Kesbhat, Campaigner, Climate and Energy, Greenpeace, +91 9221250399, ,

Nitya Kaushik, Media Officer, +91 9819902763,

Ishan Choudhary, media officer, +91 9029306421,

(1) Taking 5000m3 as the irrigation water for one hectare of single-cropped land.