The government on Wednesday told the state Assembly that a joint committee comprising members of the legislature will be set up to investigate alleged corruption in the special drive undertaken to plant 50 crore trees in Maharashtra between 2017 and 2019 under the previous BJP government.
“The joint committee will be set up by March 31 and given four months to investigate the matter. If required, additional two months will be given and the report will be tabled in the House,” said Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar during a discussion on a question raised by Shiv Sena legislator Ramesh Korgaonkar.
Pawar’s statement came after Congress’ Nana Patole demanded that a joint committee be formed to investigate whether there was any corruption in the matter.
“The government said that only 75 per cent of total plants planted are alive today… some other members said no saplings were planted. It was a dream project of the Fadnavis government. The committee should investigate whether this dream project was successful or there was corruption. So, a joint committee should be set up to investigate the matter,” said Patole.
Minister of State for Forest Dattatray Bharne, replying to the question, said that the forest department had received Rs 2,429.78 crore between 2016-17 and 2019-20 for a special drive to plant 50 crore trees in the state.
“The funds have been fully utilised. Under the special drive, 28.27 crore trees were planted by the department and 21.44 crore plants were alive by the end of October 2020,” he added.
In the past, Congress Minister Vijay Wadettiwar demanded an inquiry into the special drive.