Uddhav Thackeray puts more Fadnavis government decisions under lensUpdated: Dec 06, 2019 01:12 IST
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray decided to put all major decisions and clearances issued by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government under the scanner on Thursday. The chief minister ordered the urban development department (UDD) to put on hold permissions issued for public works in cities across the state in the run-up to the Assembly elections. He also plans to look into details of the Rs6144-crore cost escalation in five irrigation projects approved by the Devendra Fadnavis government.
A day after he stayed a decision to provide loan guarantee to four sugar mills controlled by politicians from BJP and its ally, Thackeray has directed the UDD to stop all public works approved by the Fadnavis government for the urban local bodies. The UDD has issued an urgent order to the local bodies — municipal corporations, municipal councils and nagar panchayats — to stop releasing grants till the next order, if the work order has not been issued yet. Fadnavis held the UDD portfolio in the previous government.
“To execute different types of development works in their jurisdiction, all local bodies get special funds from the state. Grants have been released for the current financial year. But all the development works where work order is yet to be issued shall be stopped till the next order. Submit a list of works to the department by Friday evening for works for which orders have been issued,” read the order issued by UDD. HT has a copy of the order.
The Thackeray government is currently reviewing all decisions taken by the previous regime in the past six months. On Wednesday, the chief minister reviewed all 34 decisions taken in the last cabinet meeting of the Fadnavis government on September 9.
In the last cabinet meeting, Fadnavis had approved revised administrative approvals of irrigation projects — Waghur (Rs2288 crore); Uddharv Tapi (Rs 536 crore); Warangaon (Rs861 crore); Shelgaon (Rs968 crore); and Bhatsa (Rs1491 crore).
Of them, four projects are from Jalgaon, home district of the former water resources minister Girish Mahajan.
Thackeray has called a meeting on Friday to understand the basis on which cost escalation was cleared. “The decision on cost escalations was discussed at length in the cabinet meeting held on Wednesday. But the chief minister wants to understand the basis on which escalations were approved. He also wants some comparison to clear doubts of any wrongdoing,” said a senior official, requesting anonymity.
Mahajan said the government can review decisions, but development works should not be stopped. “The state government can review or probe decisions, but they should also ensure that the development works are not stopped or hampered,” Mahajan said.
Former water supply and sanitation minister Babanrao Lonikar alleged the Thackeray government is only staying all development works undertaken by the previous regime.
“The only work the new government is doing is staying all the development works. Unfortunately, they have also stopped works worth Rs12,000 crore under national rural drinking water programme,” Lonikar said.
On Wednesday, the government decided to cancel the decision to give a guarantee to raise capital loans worth Rs135 crore to four co-operative sugar mills controlled by leaders of BJP, an ally of the BJP and a former NCP MP, who defected to BJP. The sugar mills had raised loan guarantees worth Rs310 crore, but the previous government had brought this amount down to Rs135 crore.