NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, currently out on bail in a money laundering case, on Monday took part in the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly for the first time in two years. He went on to accuse the government of financial mismanagement, leading to an exchange with Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.
Initiating the debate, Bhujbal alleged that supplementary demands have crossed Rs 1.25 lakh crore, which shows lack of planning and signs of growing fiscal deficit as there is a growing wedge between expenditure and revenue generation. He also alleged that tribal land rights for farming, which was promised by the state government, still remained on paper.
“Forest officials have categorically said they have to meet the target to given by the government to plant 13 crore trees. As a result, they cannot look into the demands of forest land title rights promised to the tribals,” Bhujbal said.
To this, Mungantiwar said: “The tribal land rights don’t come under forest department.”
Dismissing the charge of financial mismanagement, Mungantiwar, during his reply on supplementary demands, said: “The state has earned a record 39 per cent more revenue in the first quarter of the GST, earning applause from across the country.”
Attacking the state government over the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (MERC) approval to allow the Reliance Infrastructure to sell its integrated power business in Mumbai to Adani Transmission Ltd (ATL) for an estimated value of Rs 18,800 crore, Bhujbal said the Reliance Energy (read RInfra) owed the government Rs 2,000 crore in taxes since the last two years.
“Reliance Infrastructure Integrated Power owes Rs 2,000 crore. Yet, the company was allowed to enter into the sale deal with Adani. How could the government allow such deal. Whose money?”
Refuting the charge, Power Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said: “There is no questioning of allowing any company to walk away with dues. Before the deal is sealed, Reliance Infrastructure will have to repay the dues.”
Sources in the Reliance Infrastructure refused to comment on Bhujbal’s charges.