Spoilsport Water Politics

Maharashtra’s sub-capital Nagpur, is developing rapidly. Different people from the entire Vidharbha region come to the city ofNagpur in search of business and employment and later make this city their homeland. This is the reason that Nagpur is facing public pressure which is increasing day by day. New colonies are coming up throughout the city of Nagpur. However, the pace at which the city is developing, an equivalent proportion of infrastructural development and public amenities are not being provided. With the increasing population in Nagpur, the demand for water is also increasing rapid increase. For the time being, people in the city are meeting their necessity through water taps and wells. But they face an acute water problem during the months of December and January every yea – a problem which is increasing with each passing year. During the summer, water becomes a scarcity as there is no water in the taps for days. For solving this growing problem of water scarcity, the combined Jamghat Water Project between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh could well prove to be a boon for the people of Nagpur, though there is hope that on completion, both the states would benefit equally. The water which would come to Maharashtra would solve the water problems of Nagpur city and the rural areas ofMaharashtra to a considerable extent. Obviously, the completion of the Jamghat Project is an urgent requirement. However, the politics of the ruling Congress Party and other parties are creating obstacles in the Project.
It is worth mentioning that Maharshtra’s neighbouring state is under a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government. The President of the BJP, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, is also from Nagpur. He is therefore fully aware of what would be really beneficial for solving the problems of Nagpur. It follows that Gadkari could actually do something substantial in the context of resolving the current and future water problems in the state as well as the sub-capital. Taking this into consideration, the Maharashtra Water Resources Minister, Mr. Sunil Tatkare requested Gadkari to arrange for a meeting with the Water Resources Minister of Madhya Pradesh. The appeal of Tatkare was taken seriously by Gadkari, and he arranged a meeting between the Water Resources Ministers from the two states on 25 August atNagpur. Nitin Gadkari himself was present in the meeting.

The water which would come to Maharashtra from the Jamghat Water Project would solve the water problems of Nagpur city and the rural areas of Maharashtra to a considerable extent. Obviously, the completion of the Jamghat Project is an urgent requirement. However, the politics of the ruling Congress Party and other parties are creating obstacles in the implementation of the Project.

Apart from this, the Secretary and Chief Engineer of Water Resources from both the states were present at the meeting, as were the Mayor of Nagpur, Mr. Anil Sole, and legislator Devendra Fadnavis. However this meeting was an informal one. The leaders present gave information related to the water problems of Nagpur to the Water Resources Minister of the two states and then left the meeting hall before the formal start of the meeting. The reason behind their leaving was that Gadkari, Fadnavis and Sole were not legally empowered to be present at an interstate project meeting between the Governments of two states. The local Congress leaders made it a political issue by raising questions related to the protocol of the Ministers. The truth is that the meeting was not an authorised interstate committee, because in this type of committee the Chief Minister becomes the President. When there would be an authorised interstate committee meeting, then the Chief Minister of both the states would be present. Then the Ministers and the leaders of the Congress party would also have the right to speak in the meeting. So making a political agenda on this unauthorised meeting was not necessary. But still unnecessary questions are being raised this issue.
Actually, Congress Minister Nitin Raut and Social Welfare Minister Shivajirao Moghe do not have the guts to do something which would be beneficial for the people of Nagpur. The orders of these two Ministers are not taken seriously even by the officials and workers of their own department. The low esteem for Shivajirao is such that even the Commissioner of the Social Welfare Department delays picking up his call. If we go by what insiders say, then Shivajirao is in the Cabinet just because he is an Adivasi or tribal, otherwise he doesn’t even have the leadership skills to be in the Cabinet. To be very frank, Shivajirao doesn’t indeed have the skills and qualities to be the Social Welfare Minister of Nagpur. Then how will he help in the development of Nagpur?
Nitin Raut is a member of the State Cabinet, but he leaks important information to the media related to topics of discussion to be held in a Cabinet meeting, thereby putting the Government in a spot. Till date, he has not done any significant work for the development ofNagpur during his tenure as a minister. These ministers do not have the strength or courage to do anything worthwhile for Nagpur, but when Nitin Gadkari is making efforts to solve the water problems in Nagpur, they are intent on creating obstacles by raising matters of protocol. In contrast to these ministers, the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, Mr. Anil Deshmukh, can be termed as good. He is too is a minister in the State Cabinet and his electoral constituency, Katol, also falls in the Nagpur district. Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare is also a leader of the Nationalist Congress party, but their departments are different. It can be said that Sunil Tatkare should have informed Anil Deshmukh about his visit to Nagpur, but there was no issue about protocol. Tatkare stayed at Ravi Bhavan in Room Number 3. Anil Deshmukh is an intelligent politician, so without bothering about protocol he reached Ravi Bhavan to meet Sunil Tatkari. Gadkari was with Sunil Tatkare at that time. Both stood up and welcomed Deshmukh, who greeted them warmly and then left. He did not harbour any anger in his mind against either Gadkari or for Sunil Tatkare. It is very difficult to understand why the other two Ministers of the Congress Party made such an issue out of it. They want to take the credit, but they do not have any worthwhile link with developmental work. This is indeed very unfortunate for Nagpur. If Anil Deshmukh had wished, then he could have complained about Sunil Tatkare to the NCP State President, Madhukar Pichad, but he did not do so. Actually this shows how mature he is as a politician. The meeting did not have any protocol related issues, so what was the necessity for the two Ministers of the Congress party to make such a big thing out of it?
The Jamghat Water Project would bring certain tracts of agricultural land in Madhya Pradesh under water. In Maharashtra, the land loss after this project is completed would be much less. So, it is not really in the interests of the Madhya Pradesh Government to agree on the Jamghat Water Project. If Gadkari had not been the BJP President, then the Madhya Pradesh Water Resources Minister would not have come for a meeting with the Maharashtra State Water Resources Minister. Gadkari used his position to good effect and kept in mind the benefits that would accrue to Nagpur, especially in the context of solving the city’s water problem. This is why he decided to expedite a meeting between the Water Resources Ministers from both the states. The Congress Government at the Centre has not paid any attention to this matter so far, but Gadkari took an important step towards solving the water issue. It can be said that the meeting for resolving the water problems in Nagpur is a very good start in the right direction. Now it depends on the State Governments to arrange more such meetings on the Jamghat Project so that its construction can be completed as early as possible. The completion of this project would take an approximate time of 10 years. If the construction of this Project is not done on an immediate basis, then the water situation in Nagpur is bound to worsen in the future. To solve the water problems in the district of Nagpur, the completion of this Jamghat Project, with the help of the Madhya Pradesh Government, is of immense importance.
Before this meeting took place, such meetings were held in 1998 and 2009. When it comes to the issue of the presence of Devendra Fadnavis and Anil Sole at the meeting held on the 25 August, both of them are well aware of the problems faced by the people due to water shortage. Both the leaders kept the positive and affirmative aspects of the Water Project in front of the Water Resources Minister’s from both the states. It is the people who do not believe in doing anything substantial for the development of Nagpur who are raising objections about the meeting.
If they really want to see the development of Nagpur, then they should cast aside their negative politics and support the Jamghat Water Project.


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