Under fire over the expenditure on irrigation projects, the state government has now sought explanation from its undertakings that have been building dams.
Water resources minister Sunil Tatkare has demanded explanation from all irrigation development corporations on the issues raised by whistle-blower chief engineer Vijay Pandhare.
Pandhare in his letters to the governor, chief minister and water resources secretary in February and April had cautioned the government against corruption and mismanagement in his department. He had argued that political patronage to irrigation contractors and a nexus between officials and contractors was the root of the problem.
Tatkare told Hindustan Times: "I have asked all irrigation development corporations to respond to the issues raised in the letter by Pandhare. Many instances pointed out by him date 20 years back. We are collating information on the specifics mentioned."
Tatkare said that while they would not take any action against Pandhare. Decision on the further course of action against the alleged irregularities would be taken after getting responses from the corporations.
The water resources department had asked Pandhare to give specific instances of projects and wrongdoings after his first letter in February. In response to it, Pandhare had written the second letter pointing to projects in Konkan, north Maharashtra, Vidarbha and the failure of the lift irrigation schemes.
Following a nudge from the governor and the letter being reviewed by the CM, the water resources department has started groundwork. Sources said that some lower level officials could face music over the irregularities. But, Tatkare did not confirm this.
Responding to huge cost escalations in several projects in Konkan, the minister said that these projects, including Balganga and Kalu, were taken up by the development corporation at the behest of other agencies such as Cidco and MMRDA.
"Kalu has been stayed by the high court. We have cancelled Kondhane's work order. There will be more clarity on these issues soon," Tatkare added.