Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson Sushma Andhare on Tuesday accused the Maharashtra government of massive corruption in the mid-day meals scheme for construction labourers in Jalgaon. Blaming state Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Gulabrao Patil and Rural Development Minister Girish Mahajan, she expressed suspicion of similar corruption in other districts of the state.
When addressing a press conference at the Sena Bhavan, Andhare said that there are about 2,000 to 3,000 construction labourers who benefit from scheme across Maharashtra. However, these numbers are phenomenally high in Jalgaon, where they touched the 35,000-40,000 figure.
Alleged scam worth ₹100 crore, says Andhare
"Upon closer examination, we realised that the kitchen meant for making the food for such a large number was very small. The contractor responsible for the distribution of food did not have the names of those labourers, nor did he have the addresses where it was to be served. Moreover, when we received the list and we tried to contact some of the beneficiaries of the scheme, we realised that they were either in Gujarat or Karnataka," Andhare said, alleging that the scam might worth of ₹100 crore.
In a veiled attack at Mahajan, Andhare said, "We have all the video recordings of the investigations if minister Mahajan needs them. Many of the initial documents were provided to us by the local BJP workers."
NCP leader Eknath Khadse had earlier raised the issue in Maharashtra Vidhan Parishad when he highlighted the expenditure incurred on the scheme in March and April 2023. Andhare said that her party workers collected the details of expenditure between October 2022 and February 2023. "It shows a steady increase from ₹58 lakh to ₹8 crore. This certainly raises an alarm that something is fishy," she said.