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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Irrigation report may strain relations between ruling allies

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  Mumbai/Nagpur, December 16, 2012
First Published: 01:36 IST(16/12/2012) | Last Updated: 01:37 IST(16/12/2012)

The controversy regarding the irrigation potential achieved by water resources in the state during the last decade, is far from over.

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Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, on Saturday, said that the Central Water Commission would be asked to probe varying irrigation statistics in the Economic Survey (0.1%) and in the white paper on irrigation (5.17 %). This is likely to further strain relations between allies— particularly between Chavan and his deputy, Ajit Pawar who recently made a comeback to the state cabinet.

The figure quoted in the Economic Survey has been sourced from data released by the agriculture department and is being backed by state agriculture minister and senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.

Chavan, who spoke to mediapersons in Nagpur, admitted to the confusion that exists regarding irrigation statistics while raising questions on the white paper and challenging the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) claims.

“The white paper is not an NCP document, it is a status report of the state government. It was cleared by the cabinet, how can there be any confusion? It was cleared in the cabinet. If Vikhe Patil did not agree with the figures, he should have given a dissent note,’’ said Nawab Malik, spokesperson, NCP.

Malik however added that the CWC was welcome to audit figures published in the white paper. He also said that Economic Survey figures sourced from agriculture department were notional and this had been mentioned in the report.

Chavan also maintained that the white paper of the government is a “status report” and not an inquiry report into the alleged corruption as claimed by the opposition. “As we have a status report on irrigation in the state, the scope of debate and discussion in this regard will be more fruitful,” said Chavan.

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