With the state government facing allegations of corruption in irrigation projects, the Union water resources ministry has put all the centrally funded dams in the state under the scanner.
In a letter, a copy of which is with HT, sent to the state's water resources secretary EB Patil on October 10, central water commission's chief engineer AM Patil said the Union water resources ministry wanted a "detailed analysis of the expenditure incurred under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (AIBP) and the irrigation potential created from these projects".
The letter states that though most of the information is available with the CWC, it does not have details on tenders valued over Rs 1 crore awarded in these projects, and this should be furnished on urgent basis. The CWC has also deputed two officials to collect this information from Mantralaya.
The letter has reasoned that AIBP funds are given to projects that are incomplete due to want of resources so that benefits can accrue to farmers, and since substantial expenditure has been incurred under this scheme since 1996, a detailed analysis was underway.
Sources who had access to the letter said the central vigilance commission (CVC) had been asked to probe the irrigation scam in Maharashtra, and as such information was being sought from the department. However, senior bureaucrats in the state secretariat said that they had no communication on the issue from the Centre.
Information has been sought for six projects being implemented by the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC), five projects of the Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation (MKVDC) in western Maharashtra, three projects of the Godavari Irrigation Development Corporation, one by Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation (KIDC) and two by Tapi Irrigation Development Corporation.
The projects include the controversial Gosikhurd that has seen cost escalation from Rs 373 crore to nearly Rs 7,777 crore, as on 2008. It also includes Upper Penganga, Lower Dudhana in Marathwada, Krishna Koyna in western Maharashtra, and Tillari in Konkan, besides others.