The Maharashtra government has swung into action after its four-member committee submitted a report and alleged irregularities in the Devendra Fadnavis government's flagship Jalyukta Shivar Yojana. The government, on Thursday, referred 1,173 jobs under different categories to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for inquiry. Of these, the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) had made scathing observations on 924. There are additional 249 jobs in which the committee found irregularities and corruption.
Further, the government, based on the committee’s recommendations, has decided to investigate 6,31,827 other jobs through the respective district collectors. Once the district collectors conduct the probe and submit their findings, the government will list the jobs that should be further probed under ACB. The government's decision is a blow to former chief Devendra Fadnavis, who repeatedly claimed that there was no corruption in the JSY.
A Water Conservation Department officer told the Free Press Journal, “There are, in all, 6,33,000 jobs undertaken under JSY. The government will conduct a probe into all of them. ACB will conduct an inquiry into the jobs in which the government has incurred financial loss due to irregularities.”
On the ground:
The government’s move comes days after the committee headed by former additional chief secretary Vijay Kumar found that, in several jobs, bills were drawn up without any actual work on the ground. Several projects were completed without due permission while ignoring technical issues. The committee observed that lakhs of rupees were spent without purpose. And, several jobs were awarded without issuing e-tenders.
The Fadnavis government had selected 2,586 villages under JSY and nearly 6.41 lakh works had been undertaken, of which 6.30 lakh (98 per cent) were completed at a cost of Rs 9,633.75 crore. In 83 of the 120 villages selected for the audit, the storage created was not sufficient to meet the requirement of water and as specified in the village plan for drinking and irrigation.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant has hailed the committee’s report and hoped that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) corrupt cronies and guilty contractors will be punished soon. “JSY has failed miserably as jobs were carried out in an unscientific manner. Many jobs had not been audited. All the claims made by the Fadnavis government were hollow,’’ he noted.