An irrigation scam of thousands crores of rupees took place in Maharashtra and the whole system silently observed it. The Opposition parties the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party didn’t raise this issue either. Anjali Damania, a social worker has claimed that she gave information about this scam to the National Chairperson of the BJP, Nitin Gadkari, and also told him to raise this issue. Anjali Damania was not doing anything egoistically. She was soliciting Gadkari to perform his duty as the main Opposition party. Nitin Gadkari himself didn’t raise this issue and also stopped Kirit Soumya, Chief of the Corruption Cell of his own party from doing so. Nitin Gadkari and the BJP are denying the statement made by Anjali Damania.
When we first revealed the Coal Scam of 26 lakh crores rupees, at that time too the same face of Nitin Gadkari came forward. A Chauthi Duniya team along with a senior reporter of Maharashtra had approached Nitin Gadkari. When he was informed for the first time about the 26 lakh crores rupees Coal Scam, at that time he was in Guwahati. He sounded very anxious while talking on the telephone. He assured us that the BJP will surely raise this issue. Nitin Gadkari immediately asked his assistant Shyam Jaju to bring a copy of the Chauthi Duniya news weekly. At that time we realised that Nitin Gadkari was recruited by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as the Chairperson of the BJP. He is a disciplined and honest worker of the Sangh and he has got a service spirit towards the country.
After three days, the face of Nitin Gadkari which came forward clearly proves that presently, like the Mafias, the political parties are involved only in looting the country. We were continuously trying that the BJP should raise the Coal Scam issue, but the BJP didn’t raise this issue until the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) was disclosed. A senior leader of the BJP said that the companies to whom the coal blocks were allocated always fund the Congress and the BJP. The boldness of Anjali Damania should be encouraged and her words should be taken seriously, because there is no reason for disbelieving her.
Ajit Pawar, the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra and nephew of Sharad Pawar, has resigned from his post. After his resignation, a political earthquake shook Maharashtra. Ajit Pawar had allegations against him that during his tenure as a Water Resources Minister, he had illegally approved approximately 38 irrigation projects and also arbitrarily increased the budget of those projects. In the mean time the CAG started its investigation on this irrigation scam in Maharashtra. Serious questions are being raised that in between January to August 2009, why did Pawar hastily approve projects worth Rs. 20 thousand crores? Recently, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan announced in and outside the Vidhan Sabha that he would issue a White Paper on the big irregularity that is taking place vis-a-vis the irrigation projects in the State. But due to pressure from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders the reality behind the lack of even minor improvements in irrigation resources is lost under the cover of huge expenses of the irrigation projects. The letter written by the member of the State Technical Advisory Committee and the Mendhegiri Investigation Committee, Chief Engineer Vijay Balwant Pandhare, to the General Secretary of the State has shocked the Chavan Government. The main focus of the letter was on how the bureaucrats – contractors – political leaders have filled their treasuries with the public’s money in the name of irrigation projects. This letter written by Engineer Pandhere is nothing less than any White Paper, although the Chavan Government is refusing to show this letter publicly. So what is written in this letter that has so shaken the Maharashtra Government? Chauthi Duniya is making this letter public, so that the people should realise why the irrigation projects made with their hard earned money remain incomplete even after 15-20 years, and how, by increasing their costs the contractors, leaders and the officers are making money.
Vijay Balwant Pandhere,
Member, State Technical Advisory Committee
Member, Mendhegiri Investigation Committee
Date: – 05/05/2012
Hon’ble General Secretary
(Water Resources Planning and Development),
Water Resources Department,
Ministry, Mumbai – 400032
His Excellency the Governor, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Hon’ble Chief Minister, Maharashtra
Hon’ble General Secretary, General Administration
Subject – Complaint in respect to the Investigation done by Technical Committee on the Budget demands of the Corporation.
With respect to the above mentioned topic, I am presenting descriptive information on some convincing evidence and important information in order to make the administration aware.
The work which has been started in the Department with the help of contractors and political leaders should be stopped with immediate effect and I am hoping that the money of the public will not be wasted. It would be better if the crores of rupees which are going to be expended should be curtailed. Everything is in the hands of the
Government, if the Government itself is doing any discrepancy then who will save this country? When 6000 crores to 7000 crores of rupees are being made available every year, then according to the calculations of the District Scheduled Rates (DSR) the misuse of 1 lakh crores of rupees is not correct. The words which are written in my proposal dated 20 February 2012 are fully true. The Government has asked for more information regarding this issue. That is why I am presenting this information. If the Government does an unbiased investigation on those projects then the bid irregularities that took place in the irrigation projects will come forward.
Firstly, we are talking about the Nardhave Scheme (Konkan). When the height of the scheme was increased, at the same time, the cost of the dam was also increased from 200 crores rupees to 650 crores rupees. No such permission was given by the Government for increasing the height of the dam. Therefore the estimated budget of this scheme should be investigated. The tender of the Nardhave Scheme is of third category, and then also a Rs. 30-40 crores of Extra Item Rate List (EIRL) was approved for it. It is clearly written in the tender that “No EIRL will be allowed in this tender.” Despite this the Executive Director and the Ministers have approved the EIRL.
Nowadays in the Konkan area, a campaign is running very forcefully. By giving the reference of an irrigation dam with insufficient height, approval is obtained for
a project that envisages increasing the height of the dam. After that the proposal for increasing the height of the dam is passed at the Corporation level and after that a scam of crores of rupees takes place. This game has been running for the last 20 years in the Konkan area. The proposal for 30-40 small, low height irrigation dam projects are going to be made after some time in this area. So this should be curtailed, because even 10 per cent of the water available in Konkan is not being used. In that case, for what purpose are so many dams being constructed in this area? Anyway the Government does not have money. There is no money to complete the works which are already in progress. The projects are not completed even in 15 to 20 years, nevertheless tenders are announced. The Government should investigate those tenders in which less than 20 per cent expenses have been done. If needed, those should be abandoned, so that the public can benefit. These days the trend is of starting highly expensive projects. Actually, the focus should be on how economically the water should be safely collected, but after the Corporations have been formed, money is being wasted by making highly expensive projects.
In Nasik, for digging purposes in the Manjarpada (1) project, additional payment was made from the determined rate. This issue should be investigated. Similarly in the Manjarpada (2) project, the process of approving ‘rubbish’ budgets has started. After studying this project, the point of wastage of money comes forward. Although there is unavailability of water, still the certificate of availability was given to the project. Despite of scarcity of water, the political leaders are giving priority to such projects. Similarly in the Penganga sub basin there is scarcity of water, despite this the certificate of water availability was given. Firstly the tender is passed and later on by showing discrepancies in the tender the payment is increased. These types of barrages are found in Marathwada and Vidarbha. Lift Irrigation Project has become fully unsuccessful there. Despite this, 25-30 crores of rupees are being expended in this project.
The history of Lift Irrigation is very long. Thousands of lift irrigation schemes have been formed in Maharashtra. But 99 per cent of those schemes are stalled. Actually all these schemes are being made for the benefit of the contractors and the political leaders. A good example of failure of the lift irrigation can be seen in Muktainagar of Jalgaon District. When Eknath Khadse was the Irrigation Minister, then in between 1999 and 2000, this scheme was completed, but it didn’t last for one year. The reason behind this is that the people never demanded water, therefore for the last 12 years this scheme is at a standstill. The small irrigation dams of Konkan, medium and large projects also have discrepancies. If unbiased investigation can be done on these projects then the bungling of crores of rupees will be proved. Significantly, for lining purposes in Vidarbha, tenders have been floated for crores of rupees. If this can also be investigated, then a big scam can be revealed. According to all these corporations, steel fabrication has been done on a large scale. Far more rates than the market value have been given in the steel fabrication. If investigation can be done in all the steel fabrication items of the corporation then a scam of crores of rupees can be revealed. The point which is to be noted is all the corporations have presented an ‘exceeding’ budget for it. Similarly, the work which is done via the Technical Department of the Water Resources Department also has discrepancies. The investigation of this Technical Department is a different issue. That is why an independent investigation of this Department should be done. There is also a deficit of mutual synchronisation in the Water Resource Department of Maharashtra. The Secretaries do not have any control over the Departments. Only 10 per cent of water is being used in the Konkan area. Despite this, to increase the height of the dams, 40-50 budget letters are being passed by the Water Resources Department. All these kinds of activities should be abandoned with immediate effect, because technically the budget letter related to Konkan is inappropriate.
When the tender notice passed in Tapi Corporation and the amount which is been decided in the tender notice and the amount while giving the work order was investigated, then a huge increment was found. If the difference between the actual budget letter and the modified budget letter of the Tapi Corporation could be investigated then a huge irregularity can be found in it. All these types of discrepancies have started from the Krishna Khore Corporation. The Alliance Government has started this bungle. If the budget letter of Krishna Khore Corporation in between 1996 to 2001 can be seriously investigated, then huge irregularities can be found in it. The officials who indulged in irregularities in Krishna Khore, later on they went to Tapi and Marathwada. After that they went to Vidarbha and finally reached Konkan. There is no doubt that the collusion of the some contractors, political leaders and a few officials has destroyed the economic scenario of Maharashtra. In that case until an unbiased investigation of all the budget letters via a former Secretary is done, until then this irregularity will not come forward. After the Corporations were formed in the Resources Department, the selling of cement became easy for the contractors. Now the Department has no control on cement. The contractors do not understand how much cement should be used. In the meantime, big cement scams have taken place, this also should be investigated. It is worth mentioning that the illegal selling of cement which had been done here has already been revealed. Due to large scale selling of cement, the Secretary R.G. Kulkarni has removed cement from the Appendix (A).
Huge irregularities were also done by the engineers in the left canal of Gosikhurd, but no legal proceeding was done against the delinquent engineers. It is proved from this how much worse it might be, the guilty will always get protection from the political leaders. Ten years ago, as a working engineer I sent a report to the Government on the poor construction that was done in the low Tapi project. After that I was transferred, whereas on the basis of this report no other person was suspended. Similarly as a Superintendent Engineer I submitted a report on the construction of Tarali project. But no proceedings were carried out in this matter. To summarise, tremendous irregularities are taking place on a very large scale in the corporations of Maharashtra.
- All the corporations should be terminated.
- An IAS officer should be recruited in the post of Secretary-1.
- The amount of the tender which is to be passed should be determined.
- Budget letters exceeding Rs. 500 crores should be restricted.
Cases Which Should be Independently Investigated
- Irregularities in the rate analysis of all the budget letters.
- Irregularities in the land statements of all the budget letters.
- Irregularities in the utility proposal of all the budget letters.
- Irregularities in the EIRL of all the tenders.
- Irregularities in the increment of de-watering items.
- Irregularities in the claim process of all the tenders.
- Irregularities in the process of Clause 38 of all the tenders.
- The increased rates in all the budget letters.
- The increased rates of stone digging in all the budget letters.
- Investigation of all the money that has been wasted in lift irrigation projects.
- Review of all the constructed and under construction lift irrigation projects.
- Irregularities in the pricing of gate fabrication.
- The excise duty on cement should be investigated.