Opening general debate on the 2016-17 state Budget in the Gujarat Assembly Thursday, the Leader of Opposition Shanke-rsinh Vaghela lambasted the development claims of Gujarat government, concluding his speech on government’s modified plan of implementing the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Yojana through Under Ground Pipeline (UGPL). Vaghela said that he could smell corruption in the UGPL Project of the government.
Vaghela began his speech while sarcastically asking the government to also check the development of unemployment, financial indiscipline, liquor and dropout rates in education. He criticised the state government’s Power Policy, alleging that the policy was such that benefited private power companies. Vaghela slammed the government particularly for its solar power policy under which the government is buying each power unit from the private companies at the rate of Rs 16 per unit. He said that this purchase rate was much higher than other states.
“A joint parliamentary committee should be formed to inquire into solar power. And the committee’s inquiry report should be placed before the House,” Vaghela said.
He also alleged that the government was claiming surplus power in the state, but power connection applications of five lakh farmers were still pending. “What’s the hitch in giving power connections to those farmers,” Vaghela asked.
Vaghela advocated a need to decrease the VAT charges on fuels like Petrol and Diesel which was the cause of price rise.
He claimed that the government was not lowering the VAT charges even after the prices of crude oil in international market have gone down significantly.
Attacking the government in the field of agriculture, Vaghela said that the government should declare that it was not number one in a number of fields related to agriculture. Vaghela said that the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Yojana was conceptualised primarily for farmers, but the government had committed criminal negligence in its implementation. Vaghela said that against the present capacity of irrigating 11.62 lakh hectare land under the Narmada Yojana, only 2.09 lakh hectare land was being provided water. “The government should feel ashamed,” he added.
On the UGPL project of the state government, Vaghela said that the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Yojana was a gradient-based irrigation project. However, the government had taken an U-turn in its implementation by introducing Underground Pipeline Project in the command areas instead of constructing sub-minor canals. “I smell corruption in this UGPL project. Who told them to do this? Even CC Patel (former chairman and MD of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited) had said no to it,” Vaghela said. The Gujarat government has gone ahead with the UGPL project even after an expert committee formed by the govt itself and headed by B N Navalawala, adviser to the Chief Minister, had clearly opined against the same. C C Patel was one of the four experts whom the Navalawala Committee had invited to give suggestions.