Gujarat govt rebuts Ramesh`s claims on unspent IWMP funds

Gujarat govt dismissed claims made by Jairam Ramesh that state had failed to spend a chunk of funds released by Centre towards implementation of programme to conserve water.

PTI| Updated: Jan 01, 2014, 23:48 PM IST

Ahmedabad: Gujarat government on Wednesday dismissed as "factually incorrect" the claims made by Union Minister Jairam Ramesh that the state had failed to spend a chunk of the funds released by the Centre towards implementation of an ambitious programme to conserve water in drought-hit areas.

"Ramesh`s claims are factually incorrect and misleading as his data reflects expenditure up to June 30, 2013 only. He has conveniently not taken into consideration the expenditure from July 2013 to December 2013," state government spokesperson Nitin Patel said.

The BJP leader was reacting to a letter written by Ramesh to Chief Minister Narendra Modi recently in which he had claimed that under the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), the Centre had, so far, released Rs 702 crore and the unspent balance available with the state was about Rs 409 crore.
"In Gujarat, the cost of sanctioned projects between 2009-10 to 2013-14 is Rs 3,178 crore....Had Gujarat implemented its IWMP projects as it had committed to, it could have got another Rs 407 crore from the Centre over the last four years," Ramesh had said.

Patel said the figure of Rs 409 crore being unspent was exaggerated.

"These figures were presented before the Secretary of the Union Government in the regional review meeting held on November 20, 2013 in Pune. Thus, the figure of unspent balance mentioned in the said article of Rs 409 crore is exaggerated, misleading and factually incorrect," Patel said.

He alleged that though the government had demanded release of additional fund of Rs 288.06 crore from the Centre, the fund was not released.
"Gujarat government had proposed in October 2013 to the Union government to release additional Rs 288.06 crore for 2013-14. Even though the government complied with whatever necessary, the central government has not released any funds so far," Patel said.

Ramesh had also said that barring Karnataka, the pace
of implementation of IWMP in almost every state left much to be desired.

Patel countered this by saying that the state government has received various awards for its implementation of watershed management schemes and the Centre has also recommended the Gujarat model for others to follow.

The BJP leader said teams from 18 states had visited different watershed villages in the state to learn about the Gujarat model.