Indian Catholic News

Irrigation scam: probe ordered against 45 officers

The opposition and activists have pegged the irrigation swindle at 72,000 crore rupees.

 
Mumbai: 

The Maharashtra government has ordered a probe into the role of 45 officers of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) in the recent irrigation scam that rocked the state.

Sources say that the officers facing the departmental inquiry include six top-level chief engineers, eight superintendent engineers and 31 executive engineers.

Seven of officers have retired.

The said officers of VIDC were or still are a part of the decision-making process including the issuance of work orders and advances to contractors for several irrigation projects, including canals and dams, they said.

One of the officers under the scanner is Devendra P. Shirke, who is the water resources secretary and the then VIDC head.

Shirke is said to be close to Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar who recently resigned as the state's deputy chief minister amid allegations that he as water resources minister from 1999-2009 was the kingpin of the irrigation scam.

The opposition and activists have pegged the irrigation swindle at 72,000 crore rupees.

They have accused Pawar for hiring private firms at exorbitant costs to build canals and dams, changing rules to give himself huge control in deciding which firms would be hired and allowing the costs of projects to multiply by several hundred times.

As proof, they point out that in just three months in 2009, Pawar signed off on an additional 20,000 crore rupees for 38 projects in Vidarbha.

Source: ndtv.com

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