The alleged multi-crore irrigation scam once again proved to be an explosive issue in the state Assembly after the Opposition disrupted proceedings for the fifth consecutive day over the demand for a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the scam.
Opposition parties, led by the BJP, stalled the proceedings of the lower house on Friday. Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse raised the demand for an SIT probe by initiating an adjournment motion and sought an immediate discussion. He said the white paper on irrigation, which had given a clean chit to deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and several tainted leaders, had been tabled in the House only on Thursday and the Opposition had initiated the motion after going through it. Alleging loopholes in the document, he said the state economic survey revealed only 0.1% area had been irrigated in the last 10 years, while the white paper had pegged it at 5.17%.
Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil, rejected the motion, pointing out that it could be raised under some other rule of the House. This agitated members of the BJP and Shiv Sena, who stormed into the well shouting slogans Pawar.
The Opposition claimed that though the government had spent Rs70,000 crore on irrigation over the last 10 years, it had yielded no dividends.
“We have no objection to a discussion on the issue, but the matter does not come under such a motion,” Walse-Patil said, rejecting the motion. In the ensuing pandemonium, he adjourned the House for 15 minutes. When they re-assembled, the Opposition created an uproar again and trooped into the well. The speaker then adjourned the House for the day.
Earlier in the day, home minister RR Patil expressed regret on behalf of the government for the absence of concerned ministers to respond to a question raised by Sena leader Subhash Desai and others on damages to the orchid crop because of inadequate rainfall. The ministers’ absence led to uproar in the House and the session was adjourned for 10 minutes.