Rs 35000 Cr Irrigation Scam in Maharastra

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Daredevil, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    State govt official alleges Rs 35,000cr irrigation scam

    MUMBAI: In an explosive revelation, a whistle-blower in the state government has said a staggering Rs 35,000 crore was siphoned off and wasted on dud irrigation projects in the past decade. The Maharashtra government has spent Rs 70,000 crore on such projects across the state during this period.

    Vijay Pandhare, chief engineer (water resources department) and member of the state-level technical advisory committee who wrote a stinging 15-page note to the state government four months ago, blamed the politician-officer-contractor nexus for the mess.

    "An investigation into the functioning of all the state irrigation corporations would easily reveal irregularities worth Rs 20,000 crore in the past 15 years. Irregularities in lift irrigation schemes would prove that Rs 15,000 crore was totally wasted,'' said his letter, a copy of which was procured by this newspaper. "Officials and politicians are aware of the fact. But in order to float major tenders and get a big cut from them, huge cost estimates for these projects were prepared,'' he added.

    His letter of May 5, 2012 was addressed to water resources department secretary Eknath Patil and marked to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and state governor K Sankaranarayanan.

    The CM's office did not respond for a comment on the letter. Pandhare told TOI that no one in the government had reverted to him after his letter. In fact, sources said some senior state politicians tried to get him suspended after his note reached them. However, they could not succeed because of opposition from department officials.

    Pandhare's letter confirms a series of exposes by this newspaper on large-scale corruption and nepotism in irrigation projects in Maharashtra. In fact, it claimed that the misappropriation started during the Shiv Sena-BJP rule when the saffron alliance established the Krishna Valley Development Corporation. "There have been thousands of lift irrigation schemes in Maharashtra but 99% are non-functional. In fact, water has never passed through 90% of the schemes,'' said the note, adding that they were formulated to fill the pockets of politicians and contractors.

    Pandhare further revealed that IDCOM, a corporation formed by the irrigation department, undertook 227 medium projects for lift irrigation schemes. "They could not be completed. No one benefited from these schemes and public money was wasted. Who is responsible for this?''

    The letter said 3,000 such lift irrigation schemes were completed, but not even 1% of them are functional. "Despite knowing the history, estimates and tenders worth Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 4,000 crore are formulated,'' it said.

    Pandhare stated that the annual budget of the state irrigation department is around Rs 7,000 crore. "Yet, how is it that the state has incurred a liability of nearly Rs one lakh crore to execute the balance ongoing projects? A prudent government would never take such a decision. We need to introspect on it,'' he said.

    The chief engineer gave the example of the Nardave project in Konkan, the cost of which was revised from Rs 200 crore to Rs 650 crore after the dam height was increased without proper sanction. "The rate estimate of this project is fit case for detailed investigation. The contractor was provided an exorbitant rate,'' said his note.

    "Likewise, crores of rupees were paid as false claims towards machinery idle charges and sanctioned every year by the executive director. He had no such power. Yet he sanctioned it along with the minister in a hurry, without the permission of the government,'' it said. The same modus operandi was used in Kondhane, Balganga and Hetwane projects in Konkan. "Officers who attempt to vet or investigate are transferred,'' said Pandhare in his note.

    In the Konkan region, minor irrigation projects are approved and immediately a proposal to increase the height of the dam is mooted and sanctioned at the level of corporation. "Rates are increased under political pressure, tenders are floated and managed. This has been going on in Konkan for the last 20 years,'' he claimed.

    Pandhare suggested that 30-40 proposed projects in Konkan be stopped because the water utilization in this region is not even 10%. "All tenders of projects which have incurred less than 20% of the estimated expenditure must be thoroughly investigated, and if required, cancelled in public interest,'' it added.

    The chief engineer also gave the example of the Manjarpada-1 project. The cost is Rs 500 crore to create water storage of 500 mcft. The officer said only Rs 15-16 lakh was required per mcft. "Irrigation department's investigation wing, which actually prepares the estimates, is literally non-existent. Hence, regional officers of the corporation themselves make the estimates without check. In reality, contractors themselves make the estimates,'' it said.

    Pandhare said officials fear the political class. As a result, the water resources department is in total tatters. "If the truth has to come out, it will require integrity, honesty and wisdom,'' he said.

    Top politicians tried to get whistle-blower suspended

    Vijay Pandhare, chief engineer, water resources department, has alleged a mega scam in irrigation projects in the state. His letter of May 5, 2012 was addressed to water resources department secretary Eknath Patil and marked to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and state governor K Sankaranarayanan.

    The CM's office did not respond for a comment on the letter. Pandhare told TOI that no one in the government had reverted to him after his letter. In fact, sources said some senior state politicians tried to get him suspended after his note reached them. However, they could not succeed because of opposition from the department officials.

    Pandhare's letter confirms a series of exposes by this newspaper on large-scale corruption and nepotism in irrigation projects in Maharashtra. In fact, it claimed that the misappropriation started during the Shiv Sena-BJP rule when the saffron alliance established the Krishna Valley Development Corporation. "There have been thousands of lift irrigation schemes in Maharashtra but 99% are non-functional. In fact, water has never passed through 90% of the schemes,'' said the note, adding that they were formulated to fill the pockets of politicians and contractors.

    Pandhare further revealed that IDCOM, a corporation formed by the irrigation department, undertook 227 medium projects for lift irrigation schemes. "They could not be completed. No one benefited from these schemes and public money was wasted. Who is responsible for this?''

    The letter said 3,000 such lift irrigation schemes were completed, but not even 1% of them are functional. "Despite knowing the history, estimates and tenders worth Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 4,000 crore are formulated,'' it said.

    Pandhare stated that the annual budget of the state irrigation department is around Rs 7,000 crore. "Yet, how is it that the state has incurred a liability of nearly Rs one lakh crore to execute the balance ongoing projects? A prudent government would never take such a decision. We need to introspect on it,'' he said.

    The chief engineer gave the example of the Nardave project in Konkan, the cost of which was revised from Rs 200 crore to Rs 650 crore after the dam height was increased without proper sanction. "The rate estimate of this project is fit case for detailed investigation. The contractor was provided an exorbitant rate,'' said his note.

    "Likewise, crores of rupees were paid as false claims towards machinery idle charges and sanctioned every year by the executive director. He had no such power. Yet he sanctioned it along with the minister in a hurry, without the permission of the government,'' it said. The same modus operandi was used in Konkan's Kondhane, Balganga and Hetwane projects. "Officers who attempt to vet or probe are transferred,'' said Pandhare in his note.

    In the Konkan region, minor irrigation projects are approved and immediately a proposal to increase the height of the dam is mooted and sanctioned at the level of corporation. "Rates are increased under political pressure, tenders are floated and managed. This has been going on in Konkan for the last 20 years,'' he claimed.

    Pandhare suggested that 30-40 proposed projects in Konkan be stopped because the water utilization in this region is not even 10%. "All tenders of projects which have incurred less than 20% of the estimated expenditure must be thoroughly investigated, and if required, cancelled in public interest,'' it added.

    The chief engineer also gave the example of the Manjarpada-1 project. The cost is Rs 500 crore to create water storage of 500 mcft. The officer said only Rs 15-16 lakh was required per mcft. "Irrigation department's investigation wing, which actually prepares the estimates, is non-existent. Hence, regional officers of the corporation themselves make the estimates without check. In reality, contractors themselves make the estimates,'' it said.

    Pandhare said officials fear the political class. As a result, the water resources department is in tatters. "If the truth has to come out, it will require integrity, honesty and wisdom,'' he said.
     
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  3. H.A.

    H.A. Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Rs 35000 Irrigation Scam in Maharastra

    35000 cr (irrigation) + 1,00,000 cr (communication) + 40,000 cr (coal) = 1,75,000 cr scam :shocked:

    Err where are we heading.....
     
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  4. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Re: Rs 35000 Irrigation Scam in Maharastra

    DD, just correct the Title of the thread it reads Rs. 35000 insteead of Rs. 35,000 Cr
     
  5. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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  6. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Re: Rs 35000 Irrigation Scam in Maharastra

    And then people say that we are a poor country.

    I just had a thought that with the extent of scams being uncovered, and the substantial ones swept under the carpet, what is the real size of the parallel economy in the country?
     
  7. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Re: Rs 35000 Irrigation Scam in Maharastra

    Thanks sumit. Title corrected :namaste:
     
  8. H.A.

    H.A. Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Rs 35000 Irrigation Scam in Maharastra

    Lol soon I expect an article from UK stating that they are funding the scams in India...:becky:

    What puts off is that they keep doing all these scams and then the government increases the prices of petrol and other commodities saying that they cannot subsidies it any more while we sit here working our a*** out with no electricity.
     

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