Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said that the White Paper on the irrigation scam in the state has been tabled in the Cabinet. The Maharashtra Chief Minister said that the White Paper gives details of all irrigation projects under the corporations.
Chavan further said that the reasons why there were cost overruns in the projects were also listed out in the White Paper on the irrigation scam, adding that the report showed the difference of opinion in irrigation potential.
According to the Chief Minister, the White Paper, which claims 28 per cent rise in irrigation potential in the last 10 years, on the scam will enable the state government to decide on the future of irrigation in Maharashtra.
The White Paper on irrigation projects has virtually given a clean chit to former irrigation minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar. According to the report, irrigation potential has risen by 28 per cent and not just 0.1 per cent as the Economic Survey says. This is a huge defence of charges against Pawar.
Following the development, the NCP has demanded that Ajit Pawar, who had resigned as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, should be re-inducted in the Cabinet, as the report shows that there has been no corruption.
Earlier, sources had said that the Water Resources Ministry had countered charges of corruption in irrigation projects by listing project-wise reasons for cost overruns and delays in the White Paper.
Sources said the ministry had claimed an increase in irrigation potential by 28 per cent in the last decade. The irrigation potential has risen to 47.50 lakh hectares in 2010 from 37 lakh hectares in 2001, an increase of 28 per cent, as per the white paper, the sources said. Sources also say the white paper claims there is a 72 per cent rise in land under irrigation.
Earlier in 2012, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had announced that government would come out with white paper on irrigation. After approval by the state Cabinet, it would be tabled in the state legislature during the winter session starting at Nagpur from December 10.
Ajit Pawar, an influential Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, had quit the Cabinet following allegations of a huge scam in irrigation projects. The irrigation portfolio has always been with the NCP.
(With Additional Inputs from PTI)