Environmental activist Bandu Dhotre from Chandrapur has decided to continue his hunger strike despite state Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray assuring him that funds will be provided to clean the city’s 500-year-old Ramala lake.
Taking cognizance of Dhotre’s hunger strike that evoked a groundswell of support from all over the state, Thackeray had convened a virtual meeting on Monday with the activist and the district administration to discuss the issue. Thackeray had directed District Collector Ajay Gulhane to submit an estimate of funds required for the cleaning and beautification of the lake, and also assured that he would convene a meeting at Chandrapur after the current Legislature session to discuss what more can be done for the city in terms of boosting tourism.
On Monday evening, Dhotre had to be hospitalised following health problems due to eight days of hunger strike.
But Dhotre told The Indian Express on Tuesday, through text message, that he has decided to continue his agitation. Asked why he has decided to continue it despite the assurance by the environment minister, Dhotre said,”Funds can be made available immediately from the district mining fund, with which work for desilting the lake and diverting flow of sewage away from the lake can be undertaken. It it not possible that Chandrapur would get Rs 50-60 crore for the lake from the state government. Hence, mining fund should be used for the purpose.”
Dhotre has sent a communication to Collector Gulhane in this regard.
The activist has said that Rs 6 crore would be required for desilting, Rs 6.32 crore for construction of a retaining wall, Rs 5.5 crore for constructing a concrete nullah and Rs 2.5 crore for sewage treatment plant, totalling Rs 20 crore, which he says can be made available from the district mining fund.