Nagpur: The guardian minister of Nagpur, Chandrashekhar Bawakule, met with the Project-Affected Persons (PAPs) of Gosekhurd on Saturday morning, where he acceded to two of their demands. Accordingly, Independent legislator Bachu Kadu and his supporters withdrew their agitation, saying they would watch the government’s moves. “If it fails to keep its word, we will take the agitation to Bawankule’s doorstep,” threatened Kadu.
Bawankule had agreed to start all utility services immediately and most importantly, agreed to maintain the water level of Gosekhurd dam at less than 243.85 metres, which would prevent flooding caused by the release of water. A joint committee, which includes the PAP and government officials will be formed. This committee will file their report within a fortnight, after which the government will take a final decision. But the discussion with Bavankule on Saturdya, however, was acrimonious.
Many villagers shouted at the minister and furious debates raged to the point that Bawankule was forced to expel some of the villagers from the meeting. The PAP, led by Kadu, had occupied the MLA hostel in Nagpur and were agitated as the government was refusing to give them a hearing. Infuriated at their neglect, they seized control of the hostel on Friday. They yanked out the water tank from the terrace and threw it on the ground. The district collector and regional commissioner were away and the hostel became centre for agitation
- The Gosekhurd project on Wainganga River, in Maharastra’s Vidarva region, was approved in 1982 and launched by former PM Rajiv Gandhi in 1984
- The project is still incomplete and there are allegations of gross irregularities in rehabilitation of effected people, financial embezzlement
- Over 1 lakh people affected by construction of the dam
- Authorities have made no proper arrangement for rehabilitation of the oustees.
The oustees are demanding that water damming should begin only after they are fully rehabilitated and given their rightful compensation