Taking his alliance partner the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) by surprise, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Sunday said he was keen to publish a white paper (a statement giving facts on a particular issue) on irrigation.
“There will be a white paper on irrigation. Two different departments (water resources and agriculture) have given different figures so I asked them to sit together and work out a note,” Chavan said.
The Opposition (BJP-Shiv Sena) has made allegations of corruption in irrigation projects.
The state cabinet had discussed the issue last week, and the NCP, which holds the water resources department, was not keen on a white paper.
However, on Sunday, Chavan said the issue was still open.
When asked whether the white paper would be presented in this monsoon session he said: “We are still discussing the issue.”.
Chavan’s stand is an indication that the Congress is not yet ready to give up the issue, which can be used to corner the NCP in general and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in particular. Pawar has been handling the irrigation portfolio for almost a decade.
The chief minister is expected to face a barrage of questions on the fire that reduced four floors of Mantralaya to ashes on June 21. He said he waiting for the crime branch probe report to decide whether any particular individual or department could be held responsible for the blaze.
He also promised that the Mantralaya fire would not be used as an excuse by his ministers to avoid giving replies to questions during the session.
In another development, citizens will be allowed to meet ministers in their council hall offices during the monsoon session.
This had been restricted as a security measure after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2010.