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  Metros   Mumbai  11 Nov 2017  Department’s ‘lie’ costs Maha Rs 300 crore

Department’s ‘lie’ costs Maha Rs 300 crore

THE ASIAN AGE. | AMEY TIRODKAR
Published : Nov 11, 2017, 6:34 am IST
Updated : Nov 11, 2017, 6:34 am IST

State misses out on cash as incomplete project was included in Central scheme.

Work on the Warna irrigation project of Chandoli village of Sangli district has been going on for more than forty years now.
 Work on the Warna irrigation project of Chandoli village of Sangli district has been going on for more than forty years now.

Mumbai: In an alleged bid to claim credit for completing a project in record time, Maharashtra’s irrigation department announced an incomplete project as a completed one and then informed the Centre about its dubious feat.

The ‘stunt’ led to a loss of Rs 300 crore to the state, as the incomplete project would have received this amount from the Centre for its completion.

Besides this, there have been allegations of a few farmers monopolising water for irrigation of farms. Work on the project in question — the Warna irrigation project of Chandoli village of Sangli district in Western Maharashtra — has been going on for more than forty years now. According to the third improved administrative approval, the total project cost was fixed at Rs1,174.98 crore out of which Rs 783.29 crore has been spent. In 2016-17, the project was included in the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) — a national mission to improve farm productivity and ensure better utilisation of the resources in the country.. It was to get money to complete the remaining project.

In its report dated June 8, 2017, the state’s irrigation department informed the Centre that the project was completed, despite acknowledging that works on canals is still pending. Interestingly, the state’s certificate of completion of work has closed the doors to receiving funds worth Rs 378.95 crore from the Centre, which was to be used for the completion of the project. State irrigation minister Girish Mahajan was not available for comment on the issue.

The development has made the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) local MLA and senior leader Shivajirao Naik angry.

Mr Naik has now decided to take the matter, which was also discussed in Mantralaya in recent meeting, to Union irrigation minister Nitin Gadkari.

“Private lift irrigation schemes from wealthy farmers are being used to irrigate the land. The officials, instead of rechecking, had remarked that the work was completed and land is under irrigation,” said Mr Naik. The MLA added that this — in a way — was denying farmers the right to their water.

Neverending story

Work for the Warna irrigation project of Chandoli village of Sangli district in Western Maharashtra is a long-pending project project began in 1976. Construction of dam and building two canals, namely the left canal (70 km in proposed length) and right canal (60 km in proposed length), were the part of the project. The dam was completed by 2002 with water storage capacity of 34.40 TMC. Only 38 km has been completed on the left canal, work while on the right canal work of 30 km has been completed. The rest of the work is pending.

Tags: irrigation department, girish mahajan