Bharatiya Janata Party legislators in Rajasthan cornered two BJP ministers on the floor of the house on Friday by putting uncomfortable questions on irrigation schemes and cooperative societies.
The ministers somehow replied to their queries, but the other members of the house could gauge the difficulties they faced.
BJP legislator from Shahpura Rao Rajendra Singh alleged that the government hadn’t submitted the fund utility certificates to the central government in connection with some irrigation projects which had led to non-release of funds from the central government. No new grant for projects was sanctioned in 2012-13 and 2013-14, he said.
Water resources minister Rampratap first rejected the allegation and said 'no' amount had been withheld by the central government on non-submission of utility certificates in any projects. However, when the MLA cited figures, the minister climbed down and warned action against officials if the MLA’s claim was found true.
The legislator said that Rs 14.17 crore was released for seven minor irrigation schemes in 2009-10, but no money was released as the state government failed to submit utility certificate.
He even said that no new grant for projects were sanctioned in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
The legislator cited the public health and engineering department’s (PhED) example, quoting figures that the centre had sanctioned Rs 6.88 crore in 2008-09 for drinking water and sanitation in schools. But, so far utility certificates had for only Rs 3.62 lakh had been submitted till now.
To this the minister said that if there had been some shortcoming in the information (the minister replied with), a necessary action would be taken against the related officer.
To cover the blushes, the minister informed the house that a special cell named 'War Room' had been set up to speed up irrigation projects and it was proving to be fruitful.
Another BJP legislator from Jaipur's Kishanpol constituency Mohan Lal Gupta pushed cooperative minister Ajay Singh to the corner on weak audits of cooperative societies in the state.
Gupta alleged that the cooperative department had no control over the cooperative societies and that the societies were stealing the state revenue, issuing backdate land lease deeds and stamps.
He even asked cooperative minister Ajay Singh the exact number of such societies in Jaipur, how many audits had been conducted and action taken against the law-breakers.
Singh gave him a satisfactory reply but admitted that the audit of majority of these societies had not been done and that the department had no record of them. However, he said action against 108 societies had been taken and assured their registration would be cancelled within six months.
On the other hand, independent MLA Rajkumar Sharma sought necessary steps from the state government in combating spread of swine flu. He said the disease had claimed lives of many foreign tourists, which had adversely affected the tourist flow, giving the tourism industry in Rajasthan an Rs 5500 crore blow.
Politics of errors?
Senior BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari said more than 74 notifications were tabled in the house. Of which 22 are amendments for correction letters in Hindi language.
The MLA said the matter should be probed as to how bloomers crept into the notifications and who stood ‘benefitted from them’. State UDH minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, of whose department's 74 notifications were tabled, admitted that it was a serious issue and needed to be probed.
All for name!
Comments of NPP MLA Golma Devi lightened the mood in the house when she described the development work in her area. In a lighter vein, state parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Rathore questioned which was her area. To which she fell silent and said “Aap sab log toh padhe likhe ho. Ab mere shetra mein bhi kaam karwa do, taki Golma ka naam ho jaye,' (You all are literate. If there is some development work done in my area, it will also make me popular).