Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said the government will probe 33 cases of corruption highlighted by the Opposition and announced steps to curb corruption in the government.
“There are some irregularities. We will conduct a thorough probe into the cases,” Chavan said and assured the Assembly that there will
be action if there are irregularities. These cases include the Lavasa hill city controversy and two cases of alleged land grabbing by one of Chavan’s Cabinet colleagues. Chavan was replying to a debate on corruption initiated by Opposition Leader Eknath Khadse.
Saying that corruption was the biggest challenge before his government, Chavan said he was taking steps to weed out corruption in land-related matters and tenders on works or purchases. “We are planning substantial changes in the policy related to land matters. Clarity is needed in matters of ownership of land,” Chavan said.
The panel conducting a judicial probe into the Adarsh housing society scam will also be asked to recommend changes in the state’s land allotment policy, he said.
The government will also ensure that transactions done through tenders (a major area of corruption) are made transparent.
“We will start e-tendering. All the information about tenders will be put on the government website so that people know what is going on,” Chavan
said. In response to an allegation by Khadse that companies were using land allotted by the government only for asset creation, Chavan said the government would scrutinise the allot-ments.
“Those who have not used the land within a specific time, will be forced to return the plots,” he said. At least 16,000 acres of MIDC land have been allotted to private parties in the past few years. He also said that the government will review all inquiry reports on the functioning of the City and Industrial Development Corporation since there were several complaints of irregularities in land allotments by the body.
Chavan also said that the government will enforce environment laws strictly. “We need development but not be at the cost of environment.” He said the government will now ensure that no irrigation or infrastructure projects are allowed unless affected families are rehabilitated.
He also announced a hike of Rs 250 per month in the salaries of aanganwadi workers.