The leader of the opposition parties in the state legislature Narayan Rane of the Shiv Sena (SS) today alleged that chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has assured the completion of Rs 2,000 crore worth of projects to MLAs from the Congress, NCP and alliance partners in the Democratic Front, without even considering whether there was any budgetary provision for the same.
"The ploy appears to be to appease the 143 MLAs who supported the DF's confidence vote. There is little scope or legality to these assurances and the MLAs are being led down the proverbial garden path," Rane said while exhibiting the minuted copies of these assurances.
Pointing out specific details on the assurances issued to individual MLAs, Rane cited the instances of independent MLAs Pappu Kalani and Hitendra Thakur from Ulhasnagar and Vasai-Virar, respectively, who met the chief minister to resolve the unfinished projects in their respective constituencies.
Rane said, "Following his discussions with Kalani the chief minister issued directives to the Maharshtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to waive the Rs 44 crore in arrears of water dues owed to it by the Ulhasnagar municipal corporation. Can the state government issue such directives to an independent and autonomous body like the MIDC?"
In addition, Deshmukh also directed that this Mumbai suburb's water quota be raised by 15 per cent in an arbitrary fashion, which if actually implemented would result in imbalances in the water supply to neighbouring regions as water reserves are limited.
"Even in the case of Hitendra Thakur, the chief minister has sanctioned Rs 208.14 crore towards irrigation projects in the Vasai-Virar belt. The budgetary allocation for the region under which this area falls is a mere Rs 80.77 crore.
What is more, while the Krishna Valley Irrigation Development Corporation (KVIDC) needed Rs 2,000 crore for completing its irrigation projects in this fiscal it has been sanctioned only Rs 410 crore, out of which Rs 250 crore is towards meeting salary expenditure. Thus Rs 160 crore is available for such a mega project in this fiscal. However, the chief minister has promised Rs 208 crore for only the Vasai-Virar region," Rane said.
Citing another instance, he said that in the Jalna region the MLAs had each been sanctioned 20 kilometers of road construction work to generate employment under the Employment Generation Scheme (EGS). The EGS works are never initiated in this manner, he added.