Party to push for White Paper on irrigation expenses in Winter Session

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Friday accepted his nephew Ajit Pawar’s resignation from the Maharashtra Government. The party has also decided to push for a White Paper on the irrigation department’s expenditure in the winter session of the State Legislature.

Addressing the media after chairing a meeting of NCP legislators, Sharad Pawar said he would ask Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to accept Ajit Pawar’s resignation. The resignations of all the other NCP ministers have been rejected and they are to resume their offices immediately, he added.

Ethical stand

Sharad Pawar maintained that the truth about the alleged Rs 70,000-crore scam should come before the people. The issues relating to cost escalation of various dams across the State would be shared with the people soon, he said.

NCP Chief Spokesperson Nawab Malik said that Ajit Pawar took an ethical stand at the legislators’ meet and said that until his name was cleared, he will not hold any position in the Government. He will, however, continue to work for the party.

“The Rs 70,000-crore that has been mentioned in various media reports as the scam amount, is actually the amount spent from 1952 on 2,800 dams in the State,” Malik said.

The huge amount includes land acquisition and administration cost, which has been incurred over a period of years by the irrigation department, Malik said.

In irrigation projects, cost gets escalated because, at the time of project inception, a token provision is made in the State Budget, but as the projects progress additional funds are required, he added.

Chavan’s earlier announcement to publish a White Paper has not gone down well with the NCP, as its ministers have been holding the irrigation portfolio for over a decade.

(This article was published on September 28, 2012)
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