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Open inquiry into Jal Yukta Shivar receives poor response from complainants

The four-member panel set up by Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government during December last year to probe alleged irregularities in Jal Yukta Shivar scheme has received only four complaints from Pune, prompting BJP to claim that inquiry is driven by politics
By Yogesh Joshi and Manasi Deshpande, Pune
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 11:05 PM IST

The four-member panel set up by Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government during December last year to probe alleged irregularities in Jal Yukta Shivar scheme has received only four complaints from Pune, prompting BJP to claim that inquiry is driven by politics.

During the open inquiry session in Pune on Tuesday, only four complaints were presented before the panel, which has now decided to hold another round of hearing on March 5.

The Pune district had witnessed over 22,500 small and medium works related to water conservation under Jal Yukta Shivar.

The panel received complaints pertaining to inferior work or faulty design as well as the difference between work proposed on paper and the one carried out on the ground.

Balasaheb Chaudhary who had collectively filed multiple complaints from Purandar tehsil said that many complaints were about irregularities in the works such as the proposed size of bundhara (channel) differing with actual size on the ground.

There were also complaints about the faulty construction of bundhara. Instead of getting stored into it, water slipped from the bundhara.

Anil Shaymrao Kadam, who raised complaints related to work from Bhor and Velhe tehsil alleged that most expenses were made on making Continuous Contour Trenches (CCT) while the quality of the work was compromised.

He said most parts of bundharas were broken, while another complaint was about improper outlets disproportionate to the storage capacity.

BJP claimed that the MVA government has been exposed after ordering an inquiry with a political motive.

“The government ordered probe for good work keeping in mind the vendetta. The open inquiry has exposed the government as only four complaints were received,” said BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye.

Jal Yukta Shivar was a flagship project by the previous Devendra Fadnavis regime which spent 9,634 crore to ensure water conservation in various districts of Maharashtra.

During the last days of the government, there were allegations of irregularities in various districts including Pune’s Purandar.

Following the adverse observations made by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report pointing at some irregularities, the government set up a four-member committee chaired by former additional secretary Vijay Kumar to conduct an open inquiry into the alleged irregularities.

Vijay Kumar said, “The complainants wanted some time to bring evidence. I will give the complainants a chance to produce the evidence.”

When asked about the overall response across the state, Vijay Kumar said, “This is something that is in the process. I am not interested in going into details as of now. After I get satisfactory details, I will speak again.”

According to district agriculture superintendent Dnyaneshwar Bote, some complainants claimed that they did not get enough time to get proper information.

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