Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday called for a white paper on irrigation projects in the state over the last decade. This is likely to put further strain on the uneasy relationship between the ruling allies in Maharashtra.
The statement is a direct snub to the NCP, which has been controlling the department for 13 years now. Chavan was speaking at a symposium on Maharashtra — Past, Present and Future organised to mark the birth centenary of the state’s first chief minister, YB Chavan.
A white paper is a statement made by the government to clarify its position on an issue and place the figures on record.
Chavan’s stance will raise the hackles of Ajit Pawar, deputy chief minister, who has held the irrigation portfolio for nearly 10 years from 1999 to 2009.
The statement comes in the backdrop of allegations that cost escalation in irrigation projects — ranging from 40% to 2,000% — should be probed. The state requires nearly Rs. 75,000 crore to complete ongoing irrigation projects.
The Opposition and activists have alleged that cost escalations in the projects are stemming from a nexus between contractors and politicians.
The current irrigation minister, Sunil Tatkare, considered close to Pawar, refuted Chavan’s statement over irrigation capacity as not true.