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Water offenders face imprisonment 

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory bill was tabled in the upper house on Thursday along with a report of the joint committee headed by Ajit Pawar. It will now have to be approved by the lower house and signed by the governor before it becomes law. 
The new law provides for the establishment of a Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority to “regulate water resources, facilitate and ensure judicious, equitable and sustainable management, allocation and utilisation of water resources, besides fixing rates for use of water for agriculture, industrial, drinking and other purposes’’. 
The new law also provides for imprisonment for its breach. The punishment may extend to six months and a fine that could extend to tenfold the annual water charges, for non-compliance of any order or direction issued under the act. 
While the two-child norm was supported in the council by the treasury benches, Shiv Sena members protested against the rule. Sena member Diwakar Raote said the bar would affect farmers’ rights to draw irrigation water. Sen’s Uddhav Thackeray has warned of an agitation if the government implements the law. 
Earlier, the joint committee report tabled in the house by committee chairman Ajit Pawar said the bill also revised the sequence of use of water from an irrigation project. Previously, after domestic use, the other uses sequentially were industrial or commercial, followed by irrigation and environment. But under the new law, the uses are domestic, agricultural irrigation, agricultural industry, followed by industrial or commercial use, the report noted. TNN