THE Congress on Thursday launched a scathing attack against Maharashtra Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao alleging he was “overlooking the interest of Maharashtra while promoting his native state Telangana’s interest”.
The political offensive came at a time when a row has surfaced over the raising of the height of the Medigadda barrage in Gadchiroli, which impacts citizens from both states.
Telangana’s Karimnagar, the Maharashtra Governor’s home district, happens to be in the command area of the irrigation project.
Maharashtra Congress leader Sachin Sawant alleged Thursday that the Governor had been pushing the project despite strong protests from locals in Gadchiroli.
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The party also hit out at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, claiming that his government was “bowing to the Governor’s pressure”.
The BJP has been accusing the Congress of running a misinformation campaign on Medigadda. Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan had earlier claimed that raising the height of the barrage would only submerge 20 hectare of land in Maharashtra. The Congress has questioned this claim, and has contended that 25,000 hectare spread over 25 villages in Gadchiroli was to go under water.
The latest flashpoint in the crisis came when Telangana government officials performed a pooja at the barrage site on their end. While the Congress and those objecting to the project have claimed that a ‘bhoomipujan’ (which marks the commencement of the project work) was carried out, the Telangana government claimed on Thursday that a ‘jalpujan’ or a water pooja was carried out.
“The Governor’s post is an apolitical post. But the Maharashtra Governor is overlooking interests of the state to promote Telangana’s interest,” said Sawant.
The Congress has claimed that no survey had been carried out so far to determine the extent of submergence, an allegation that is contested by the Maharashtra government. Hitting out at Devendra Fadnavis, the Congress said the issue also exposed his double-speak on Vidarbha. “He (Fadnavis) projects himself as the guardian of Vidarbha’s interest, but he hasn’t even taken note of the ongoing protests,” said Sawant.
‘Water bill for drought unfortunate’
The Congress Thursday also hit out at the Centre for raising a “Rs 4 crore bill” for transportation of drinking water through railway wagons to drought-hit Latur. “Both the Centre and the state sought mileage for transporting water through wagons to Latur. And now this bill has been raised. It reveals the Centre’s business mindset,” said Congress leader Sachin Sawant. For the past one month, the government has been using a water train to supply water to Latur city.
The state government has claimed that it has already eked out an assurance from the Centre that the entire bill for renting out the wagons would be waived, the Congress claimed the raising of the bill itself was unfortunate.