VJAS demands white paper on irrigation schemes
NAGPUR: Farmers rights organization Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, while welcoming the state Congress' decision to hold a water convention (Paani Parishad) at the farm suicide epicentre of Yavatmal on Thursday, demanded that chief minister Prithviraj Chavan should come clean on the alleged misuse of funds in the PM's relief package.
"Chavan should come out with a white paper on the alleged corruption in implementation of the PM's special relief package that had allocated a major chunk for enhancing irrigation facilities in drylands of Vidarbha," said Kishore Tiwari of VJAS. "Crores of rupees meant for irrigation works were siphoned off. To add insult to injury, the ruling partner NCP now wants special allocation of water to private power plants which are coming up in large number in Vidarbha," said Tiwari.
"We will request the chief minister to refer the matter to the Centre for a CBI probe as serious charges of corruption in irrigation works were levelled by legislature's public accounts committee (PAC) as well as the CAG. It is alleged that advance payment under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme was made by the VIDC (Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation).
"We are thankful to MPCC president Manikrao Thakre for organizing the convention as it will provide dais to the dying cotton farmers of Vidarbha to raise issues related to hostile functioning and failure of administration in increasing irrigation facilities in western Vidarbha since 2006 when the PM package was announced for six districts," said Tiwari.
VJAS has also supported the MPCC president's contention that there was no need for mushrooming of power plants in Vidarbha when already plants expected to generate 19,000MW are nearing completion. "The state should not allow robbery of water by some 60 private power plants that are eying cheap land and water in Vidarbha. Instead, the state should ensure optimum use of funds being allocated from the budget by the governor for removing irrigation backlog and benefiting farmers," said Tiwari.