The presentation on the Irrigation Department projects over the last decade before the Cabinet was deferred again on Wednesday. A special meeting has now been convened on Thursday evening to discuss the much-debated subject.
The controversy over irrigation works,money spent on projects and the area brought under irrigation began after Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan sought a white paper on them. The Irrigation department,handled by NCP minister Sunil Tatkare,has come under fire over the negligible area brought under irrigation,as quoted by the CAG report.
Following the Chief Ministers statement,it was decided that a presentation on irrigation projects would be made before the Cabinet. Tatkare has already made a presentation to Chavan and was expected to do the same at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. However,there is no unanimity between the Agriculture and Irrigation departments regarding the area under irrigation.
The irrigation discussion is going to take three-four hours,which is the time slot for a proper Cabinet meeting. A meeting has been convened on Thursday, a minister said.
At Wednesdays meeting,the ministers discussed the decision,taken at the last Cabinet meeting,to bring down the eligibility criteria to receive funding of tuition fees for socially and economically backward students. Congress leaders had spoken out against the decision.
Both the Congress and NCP members opposed the proposal that seeks to make mayor ex-officio chairman of the standing committee in municipal corporations instead of an elected member of the standing committee. The standing committee,which approves proposals and projects with financial application before they are presented to the general body,is an important post in the civic body. The Urban Development department had proposed to amend the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act,1888,and the Acts that govern municipal corporations to appoint the mayor as the committees ex-officio chairperson.