In another significant reversal of a decision taken by the previous BJP-led government, the new Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government Wednesday overturned a duty waiver granted to the Nagpur-based Research for Resurgence Foundation (RRF), which is affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
On September 9, the Devendra Fadnavis-led Cabinet had approved a proposal exempting the foundation from payment of stamp duty and registration charges for a property transaction.
The RRF is founded by the Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal, which is an offshoot of the RSS. According to an official communication released by the then government, the waiver was for the purchase of 105 hectares of land in Nagpur’s Katol taluka.
But on Wednesday, the new Cabinet under Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray rolled back the move citing the existing financial strain on the public exchequer. Since the code of conduct had come into force after the September 9 Cabinet meeting, the minutes of the meeting were yet to be confirmed. Government sources said that the payable duty worked out to be around Rs 1.5 crore.
Even as the Fadnavis government had directed officials to go ahead with the decisions without the confirmation of the minutes, Thackeray had on Tuesday asked authorities to submit all the decisions that had been taken in that Cabinet meeting for a review.
On November 28, the day the new government was sworn in, the state government had ordered the cancellation of a Rs 321 crore contract awarded to a Gujarat-based firm for an international horse fair in Nandurbar.
On Wednesday, the Thackeray government also withheld the previous regime’s decision to reserve seats in medical colleges for doctors serving in the public sector.
In the September 9 meeting, the Fadnavis Cabinet had sanctioned a proposal of reserving 10 per cent seats in undergraduate courses and 20 per cent seats in postgraduate courses as an incentive for students willing to put compulsory regular service in rural and tribal institutions.
The new Cabinet also held back the confirmation of approvals to cost escalations in five major irrigation projects — Waghur, Hatnur, Warangaon Tarvel, Shegaon (all Jalgaon), and Bhatsa (Thane) — collectively worth Rs 6,144 crore. Sources said Shiv Sena minister Subhash Desai, who was also a part of the previous Cabinet, questioned the extent of the cost escalation.
In a last minute rush to beat the code of conduct, the Fadnavis government had cleared 38 proposals on September 9. The ministerial committee will also review the RFP document for the Rs 3,122 crore Marathwada water grid in Latur and Osmanabad, also cleared on September 9.