Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday reiterated that the BJP’s transparency plank to weed out corruption and bring greater accountability was applicable to entire Maharashtra. The constitution of a three-member committee of retired officers Ramnath Jha, Sharad Kale and Gautam Chaterjee to cover transparency and evolve guidelines was for all civic corporations and not Mumbai alone, he said. At a cabinet meeting Sunday, Shiv Sena ministers adopted an aggressive posturing, demanding that the transparency not be restricted to the BMC alone but cover all 10 corporations and 26 zilla parishads across Maharashtra. Minister for Environment Ramdas Kadam of the Shiv Sena said, “We urged the chief minister to extend the committee guidelines for transparency to all municipal corporations across Maharashtra. We also demanded that upalokayukta should be appointed in all municipal corporations as done in Mumbai.”
The Sena’s aggression was a face-saver provided by the BJP ahead of the budget session. The Sena, which had threatened to put the government on notice, wanted to send a message that they were are not buckling under any pressure from the BJP after the latter handed over the BMC to it.
Fadnavis told the ministers that he would set up another three-member committee for zilla parishads.
Maharashtra already has a lokayukta under whom all institutions of the government are covered. The appointment of upalokayukta for the BMC was done considering huge work and challenges in the country’s richest civic body.
Another demand of the Sena was loan waiver for farmers. Fadnavis said both these issues were being looked into by the government. He assured the Sena that the Centre had already provided Rs 1,000-crore aid for the farm sector but he would seek more.
Fadnavis said, “The government has already allocated Rs 894 crore crop compensation, which is being disbursed. We are not against loan waiver for farmers … but it has to be done at the right time to ensure it reaches the deserving and not misused. Water and electricity to farmers is our focus to make agriculture sustainable for long term. We are working towards separate agriculture feeders driven on solar energy.”