The state government on Thursday informed the Bombay high court it has decided to conduct a fair and independent inquiry into the irregularities found by the Madhav Chitale committee in at least two irrigation projects in Konkan, Kondhane and Channera.
Advocate general Sunil Manohar informed the division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Ajay Gadkari the government has also decided to not make any payments to the contractors involved till the inquiry is complete.
The court has granted the state government time till January 20 to file an affidavit about the inquiry.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by four Aam Aadmi Party activists seeking cancellation of all sanctions and permissions for the Kondhane irrigation project on Ulhas river in Raigad district. The PIL had later been enlarged to include 15 other projects from the Konkan region.
The Chitale committee report had called for an independent probe into five projects, including Kondhane and Channera in Konkan. Out of the remaining three, two were from Vidarbha and one from Ahmednagar.
“Our prayer in the PIL was that there should be an independent court-monitored probe in Kondhane and later this scope was increased to all 15 projects under Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation (KIDC). It remains to be seen how many projects will finally come under the independent probe,” said Anjali Damania, AAP member and one of the petitioners.
The AAP activists have also raised suspicion about the tendering process, alleging it was done in a manner to help a particular party, which has been awarded contracts for constructing most of the dams in Maharashtra.