Mumbai (The Hindu): The State government has ordered an inquiry into allegations made by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray that irregularities in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s pet project Jalyukta Shivar is linked to corruption in the Irrigation Department in the previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government.
Water Conservation Minister Ram Shinde said, “I have asked for an inquiry into the allegations of corruption levelled against the projects completed under the Jalyukta Shivar scheme in Ratnagiri district. The report should come to me by this evening [Tuesday]. If we find anyone guilty of misappropriation of funds, necessary action will be taken.”
The government launched the project — Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan — in a bid to make the State drought-free by 2019. The project involves deepening and widening streams, construction of cement and earthen stop dams, work on nullahs and digging farm ponds.
State steps in
The government swung into action after the Sena chief chose to follow-up on the charges levelled against the scheme by senior Sena leader and Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam. Mr. Kadam alleged that the projects under the scheme in Ratnagiri district were completed only on paper and the officials had cleared a bill worth ?10 crore.
Taking a cue from Mr. Kadam, the Sena chief, who was in Akola on Monday, compared the irregularities in Jalyukta Shivar scheme with those in the Irrigation Department when the Congress-NCP alliance was in power. Mr. Thackeray said, “If there is corruption in Jalyukta Shivar, what is the difference between this scheme and the irrigation scams? There should be an inquiry into the works carried out under this scheme.” Mr. Thackeray further added that if people had information on corruption in the scheme, they should give the details to the Shiv Sena. “We will ensure that the guilty get punished,” he said.
Media informed first
Facing a flurry of allegations from its ally, Mr. Shinde on Tuesday said that if the Sena leaders had complained to him about the alleged corruption before approaching the media, he would have initiated an inquiry. “He should have gone to the media only if we had failed to work on it.”
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