Clean chit to Ajit Pawar in ir­ri­ga­tion scam

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - From p1

Dur­ing that pe­riod, Pawar as min­is­ter of ir­ri­ga­tion and wa­ter re­sources depart­ment was the chair­man of ir­ri­ga­tion depart­ment. The state govern­ment can take ac­tion against of­fi­cials by giv­ing “soft and nom­i­nal pun­ish­ment” the re­port said. “Rules and reg­u­la­tion were not prop­erly formed and adopted and fol­lowed by the ir­ri­ga­tion depart­ment while al­lot­ting ten­ders and giv­ing an ad­vance to con­trac­tors ( mo­bil­i­sa­tion of fund).”

While pro­tect­ing Pawar, Sunil Tatkare, the present ir­ri­ga­tion min­is­ter, said that the Op­po­si­tion had blown the ir­ri­ga­tion is­sue out of pro­por­tion. “Since 2009, the ir­ri­ga­tion per­cent­age has in­creased by 17% and 5.4% area has in­creased un­der ir­ri­ga­tion. Out of 22 rec­om­men­da­tions of Chi­tale com­mit­tee, we have ac­cepted 20 and re­jected two. The re­jected two rec­om­men­da­tions were not vi­able and trifl e to ac­cept,” Tatkare said.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the re­vised cost of 100 ir­ri­ga­tion projects reached to Rs68,656 crore due to var­i­ous rea­sons. The rea­sons in­clude rise in land cost, change in ir­ri­ga­tion project’s ar­chi­tec­tural draw­ings, ex­pan­sion of project ar­eas and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cost, change in con­trac­tor’s rate card etc.

Vinod Tawde, BJP leader, said of­fi­cials and min­is­ters had con­nived. “But the re­port asks the govern­ment to take ac­tion against of­fi­cials and not min­is­ters. Narco tests should be con­ducted on offi - cials and min­is­ters... Pawar should take moral re­sponsi- bility and re­sign im­me­di­ately... the mat­ter should be thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated,” he said.

BJP MLA Deven­dra Fad­navis said the govern­ment tabled the dis­torted sum­mary of the Chi­tale com­mit­tee re­port to mis­guide people. “Rather than giv­ing a copy of the re­port, the govern­ment dis­trib­uted CDs, that too very late. Many MLAs and jour­nal­ists did not get a copy of the re­port... The govern­ment de­lib­er­ately tried to sup­press our voice.”

— Hemant Padalkar/ dna

Ajit Pawar leaves the Vid­han Bha­van on Satur­day

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