The Maharashtra government has given clearance to 31 irrigation projects that had sought revised administrative approval following cost escalation and other administrative shortcomings during the previous Congress-NCP government.
State’s Water Resources Girish Mahajan said, “The decision to clear the 31 irrigation projects with revised administrative approval has been take to complete the languishing projects that has affected the agriculture sector.”
Despite budget provisions, some of the irrigation works, especially in Vidarbha, could not be completed as it required revised administrative approval. Of the 31 projects, 12 are covered under Vidarbha Irrigation Development
Corporation, eight under Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation, two under Tapi Jalgaon Irrigation Development Corporation, seven under Godavari Irrigation Development Corporation and two under Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation.
“Most of these ongoing works needed administrative approval after revised estimates, which were withheld,” Mahajan said.
In the state budget 2015-16, Rs 7,272 crore was allocated for the water resources department.
“We are according priority to works that are almost on verge of completion or which are essential for creating the irrigation potential in the drought-hit regions of the state,” Mahajan said, adding that the requirement of funds was much higher to complete the ongoing projects.
Earlier, in February 2015, the state government had given clearance to 22 projects pending for revised administrative approval.
Interestingly, the state government has indicated that administrative approval to the projects cannot be equated with the ongoing probe in financial irregularities. The Anti-Corruption Bureau has already initiated investigation in all the irrigation projects listed by water management expert Madhav Chitale committee, which probed into the alleged irregularities in them.
After allegations of irrigation scam worth Rs 70,000 crore during the previous regime, several irrigation projects were stayed following cost escalation.