Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday issued a stern warning that the Gosikhurd National Irrigation Project work could not languish indefinitely and that villagers affected by the project would have to be rehabilitated with immediate affect in a time-bound manner.
Expressing his unhappiness over the slow pace of work, the chief minister also ordered suspension of officials who had refused to join new postings in Vidarbha without any valid reasons.
Fadnavis, who reviewed the progress of the Gosikhurd project, was informed that rehabilitation of the project-affected villagers could not make a progress due to non-availability of officials in the departments concerned.
It is learnt that several officials from Mumbai and Pune have been reluctant to take up the new postings in several parts of Vidarbha, affecting the mega projects across the region.
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A senior officer said, “Fadnavis personally greeted the villagers who complained about failure of the administration to provide basic amenities after they were uprooted from their original villages following Gosikhurd project.”
The Gosikhurd project started way back in 1884-85. But the failure to complete rehabilitation work and construction of canals to channelise the dam water has affected the farmers across 2.52 lakh hectares in Bhandara, Nagpur and Chandrapur districts in Vidarbha. The project cost also increased from Rs 385 crore to Rs 1,600 crore in the last 30 years.
Fadnavis, who has completed nine months in government, said, “I am not concerned about what happened in past. I want the work to be completed in time. We cannot allow farmers and villagers to suffer hardships.”
The chief minister directed the gram panchayats to directly submit the civic amenities plans to him and said he would personally monitor its implementation.
“The paucity of funds will not come in the way of completion of project or villagers rehabilitation,” said Fadnavis.
Assuring announcement of a holistic water policy shortly, he said, “The final phases of Gosikhurd along with funds from the Centre would be taken to a logical end.”
The state government had announced a Rs 1,200-crore package for the project in 2013, and promised to rehabilitate 15,155 project-affected families. It also included compensation of Rs 2 lakh per hectare for 25,246 land owners and 3,363 landless labourers, besides Rs 2,90 lakh for those eligible for government jobs and the unemployed.