Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra during one of the tree plantation drives
Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra during one of the tree plantation drives
File photo

Days after the launch of inquiry into the multi crore Jalyukta Shivar Yojana, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Wednesday announced a probe into BJP led government’s another dream project of the plantation of 33 crore tress in the state during 2014-19.

The announcement was made by the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to a question raised by the former Speaker Nana Patole in the state assembly.

Pawar said the committee will be established by March 31 and it will be given six months to complete the inquiry.

The Forest Department was held by senior BJP legislator Sudhir Mungantiwar.

Minister of state for forest Datta Bharne said that the BJP led government had spent Rs 2,429 crore on the ambitious tree plantation drive.

He stated in a written reply that 28.27 crore trees were planted in the state by the Forest Department during the years 2016 -2017 and 2019-20. At the end of October 2020, 75.63% of the saplings or 21 crore saplings are alive.

Patole wanted that a legislature’s committee should be formed to probe how much money was spent per sapling and what price it was purchased and from which nursery.

Earlier, former forest minister Sanjay Rathod, who resigned following controversy over his alleged links with a suicide of a 23-year-old woman, in February 2020 had directed the forest secretary to investigate whether there were any irregularities in the tree plantation drive. However, it remained an announcement as no probe was initiated.

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