Farmer activist Kishor Tiwari pointed out that massive irregularities in irrigation corporations were bared in the CAG and PAC reports of 2008-09 and 2009-10 but the opposition did not demand any action taken reports (ATR) on these Scams
NAGPUR: The first week of winter session has seen very little legislative business. Apparently under pressure from low key MLAs, BJP and Shiv Sena leaders have allowed the question hour to proceed but after that it has been only commotion. BJP and Sena say they are raising Rs 70,000 crore irrigation scam since last five sessions but government has refused to order a probe. Hence, they have adopted an aggressive posture this time.
However, insiders in both parties say the opposition is taking advantage of rift between chief ministerPrithviraj Chavan and his deputy Ajit Pawar on the one hand and Ajit and his uncle and NCP supremoSharad Pawar on the other. This is not to deny the conducive atmosphere created by series of exposes on irrigation scams by the media and Ajit Pawar's dramatic resignation, the whitewash white paper and Ajit's re-entry into government.
Opposition leaders were well aware of massive corruption in irrigation projects since years. Many times issue of corruption in a one or two projects was raised by leaders like Eknath Khadse, Subhash Desai, Pandurang Phundkar, Devendra Fadnavis and Vinod Tawde. However, the systematic loot initiated through irrigation projects was never talked about. Whenever, the opposition sought a discussion on irrigation it was mainly on backlog of Vidarbha, Marathwada, Konkan and Khandesh.
That the opposition was not very keen on taking on Ajit Pawar was evident from the fact that even when government did not provide copies of Vadnere Committee report tabled in winter session of 2010 to legislators, there was no outcry. Pawar's role had been directly questioned in this report. Moreover, the detailed report was abridged to just 20-page one. Same was the case with Kulkarni, Upase and Mendhegiri committee reports.
Farmer activist Kishor Tiwari pointed out that massive irregularities in irrigation corporations were bared in the CAG and PAC reports of 2008-09 and 2009-10 but the opposition did not demand any action taken reports (ATR) on these. Senior BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis, however, defended themselves, "we have much more ammunition in our hands this time. The letter of chief engineer Vijay Pandhre is clear evidence of corruption. That there is something wrong is evident from the fact that the CM agreed to publish a white paper."
"However, when there was no mention of the four enquiry committee reports in the white paper, we decided enough was enough. We first published a black paper to point out what the white paper conveniently did not include and then assumed this aggressive posture," he added.