Nothing wrong with Lavasa, says Pawar

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar has sought to justify the Lavasa lake city project, saying all the rules were being followed in its construction.

"The government has not acquired any land for the project. All the land has been purchased by Hindustan Construction Company. As much as 91% of the land leased out is under water. What is the problem if a new town is coming up there?" Pawar said, addressing a party convention in Pune on Saturday.

"We have to face opposition whenever any development work is carried out. Workers should not get discouraged because of this campaign."

Earlier this week, Pawar had come under attack over Lavasa.

Former police officer YP Singh had alleged that the land acquired for the Krishna valley irrigation project was gifted to Lavasa by his nephew, former irrigation minister Ajit Pawar, in which Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule held stakes.

"Encouraged by the Lake district in England, I took the initiative to develop hill stations in Maharashtra. All the hill stations in India had been developed by Britishers. Why can't we do it on our own?" he said. 

Speaking in support of Ajit, Pawar said his party was being needlessly targeted over the irrigation scam.

"Ministers are not the persons who go to the site and supervise the work," he said.

"You can punish the officer who has erred. Blacklist them, recover money from them, but do not resort to propaganda against us."

Though Pawar did not name any party, the NCP leaders have been blaming the Congress and its chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan, for "targeting" them over irrigation cost escalations.

Undermining the cost escalation issue, Pawar said there was a demand for dams from across Maharashtra. But the work was being delayed due to lack of funds.

The 71-year-old Union agriculture minister also said he would not contest Lok Sabha elections again and would seek a Rajya Sabha seat instead.


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