State suddenly asks PMC for land tariff

Water resource department demands Rs 30 crore for using land adjacent to Khadakwasla water canal, which civic body has used for laying pipes
After accusing the Pune Mu nicipal Corporation (PMC) of excessively using water, the state water re source department has once again rapped the civic body for using its land to lay pipelines over two decades. As a counter action, it has demanded Rs 30 crore as rent for the land, where a duct between Khadakwasla Dam and Parvati water purification plant has been constructed. The PMC has expressed “surprise“ over the department’s claims.In a letter, the water resource department has asked for rent, for using its land adjacent to canal that originates from Khadakwasla and runs into the city. A 12-km portion of this waterway flows between the dam and the purification centre. On these routes, pipelines have been laid down on two occasions.

In 1997, the PMC laid a duct of 2,500 mm diameter. Almost 20 years later, it laid another pipeline on the other end of 3,000 mm diameter, as the old one had started malfunctioning.

The water resource department (earlier known as irrigation department) has seemingly woken up to these decades-long developments and has demanded rent for the entire period. In its letter to the PMC, it has asked for Rs 14 crore for using their land in 1997 and Rs 16 crore for the new pipeline.

One of the senior officials of water resource department of Khadakwasla dam division said, “Corporation is also supplying water to different customers and charging water taxes based on their usages -be it commercial, residential and industrial.They are also charging land rent for laying underground cables from telecom and other private and government companies. This also renders us capable of charging the rent. We ignored the fact earlier, but now, we have realised it.“

Chief superintendent of water supply department, VG Kulkarni, while confirming of having received the letter, informed Mirror that this is a second such demand received from the department. “Their first demand is to pay water charges for using excessive water with commercial rate and now they are demanding land rent for pipelines laid in 1997 and 2016,“ he said.

He added that they have never previously raised the land rent issue and have suddenly started claiming it. “Now, we have told the corporation land acquisition department to calculate amount of land rent to verify their claims. Besides that, corporation is a part of the government and they are paying water charges to the resource department. They should have to consider this fact before claiming it,“ he said.

Source : Mirror