Despite a directive from Guv, CM’s office silent on irrigation scam probe
The chief minister’s office is yet to respond to a directive from the governor, which asked the CM to look into allegations of corruption in the water resources department. The April direction asked the CM to submit an inquiry report to the governor.mumbai Updated: Sep 11, 2012 01:24 IST
The chief minister’s office is yet to respond to a directive from the governor, which asked the CM to look into allegations of corruption in the water resources department. The April direction asked the CM to submit an inquiry report to the governor.
On February 20, governor K Sankaranarayanan received a complaint from Vijay Pandhare, who is a Nasik-based chief engineer (design and quality control) in the water resources department. The engineer sent the letter to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan as well. Through his letter, Pandhare alleged that Rs35,000 crore was siphoned off and wasted on dud irrigation projects in the past decade.
“Levelling serious allegations of corruption and irregularities, Pandhare asked for a probe into budgets of all five irrigation boards in the state by a committee of experts headed by water resources expert Madhav Chitale,” said a source from the governor’s office.
“We have not received any communication from the CM’s office yet. We had sent the letter to Ajit Kumar Jain, principal secretary in the CMO,” the source told the HT on Monday. Jain did not respond to repeated calls and text messages, while Chavan, who was busy in meetings, could not be reached for a comment.
On May 5, Pandhare sent yet another letter to the Governor, which was also addressed to water resources secretary.
This letter pointed out issues with water distribution. The Governor’s office sought suggestions from state water regulatory commission chairman Suresh Sodal and received a prompt response.
The governor’s office, however, refused to share Sodal’s recommendations with HT.
In addition to pointing out irregularities, Pandhare through this letters, also questioned the executive director’s authority to sanction money without the permission of the government.
He said that such authorisations have taken place in Kondhane, Balganga and Hetwane projects in Konkan, pointing out that officers who did not approve funds were transferred.
HT has been pursuing the escalated cost of such projects, including the Kondhane dam project.
On Monday, Pandhare stood by his allegations and observations. He said he has not received any letter from the government.
However, a senior official in the water resources department said the department had asked Pandhare for proof to back up his allegations. The official said no action had been initiated against the engineer for what some may construe as breach of service rules.