Govt faces flak over `500cr loan from Shirdi tem­ple trust

The Free Press Journal - - MUMBAI/STATE -

The NCP has ac­cused the BJP-led Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment of "med­dling" into the af­fairs of tem­ples, days af­ter the state ad­min­is­tra­tion inked an MoU seek­ing a Rs 500 crore "in­ter­est free" loan from Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST) for con­struct­ing a dam canal net­work.

The Leader of Op­po­si­tion in the Ma­ha­rash­tra Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil Dhanan­jay Munde also al­leged that seek­ing loan from tem­ples is in­dica­tive of "fis­cal bank­ruptcy" of the state gov­ern­ment.

"The gov­ern­ment's move to seek Rs 500 crore loan from the SSST is un­for­tu­nate be­cause

Seek­ing loan from tem­ples is in­dica­tive of "fis­cal bank­ruptcy" of the state gov­ern­ment. funds worth Rs 28,000 crore, which are meant to be used for ir­ri­gation, are cur­rently ly­ing idle with the state gov­ern­ment

— DHANAN­JAY MUNDE, Leader of Op­po­si­tion

the gov­ern­ment claims to have am­ple of funds for the Samm­rud­dhi cor­ri­dor and bul­let train projects," the Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party leader told PTI on Fri­day.

Re­cently, a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MoU) was signed be­tween the SSST and the Go­dawari-Marath­wada Ir­ri­gation De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (GMIDC) for the Rs

500 crore credit.

Nil­wande dam is lo­cated on the Pravara River and is ex­pected to ben­e­fit 182 vil­lages in Sangam­ner, Akole, Ra­hata, Rahuri and Kopar­gaon talukas in Ahmednagar dis­trict and Sin­nar in Nashik.

Munde also claimed the state gov­ern­ment had al­ready utilised SSST funds worth Rs 700 crore, which is a do­na­tion given by devo­tees of Saibaba, for var­i­ous works.

"In­stead of util­is­ing the funds for pro­vid­ing var­i­ous fa­cil­i­ties for devo­tees, the gov­ern­ment is us­ing them for dam-re­lated works while it is send­ing no­tices for pay­ment of In­come Tax to SSST," he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Munde, the gov­ern­ment seek­ing a loan of Rs 500 crore from a shrine is "in­dica­tive of fis­cal bank­ruptcy".

Munde claimed that funds worth Rs 28,000 crore, which are meant to be used for ir­ri­gation, are cur­rently ly­ing idle with the state gov­ern­ment.

He al­leged the prime min­is­ter and the chief min­is­ter are "loot­ing" funds of tem­ples. Munde also al­leged that Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Ma­ha­rash­tra Chief Min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis have "failed" to keep their as­sur­ance of grant­ing Rs 3200 crore for the de­vel­op­ment of Saibaba tem­ple and Shirdi town.

"The PM had promised a mir­a­cle af­ter im­po­si­tion of goods and ser­vice tax (GST) but noth­ing hap­pened," he said, adding that a gov­ern­ment is sup­posed to en­sure that a tem­ple is run smoothly and not to in­ter­vene into its af­fairs.

Munde also al­leged that the gov­ern­ment has been vi­o­lat­ing rules re­gard­ing ap­point­ment of trustees for the Saibaba shrine.

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