Maha: Probe ordered against 45 irrigation officials

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has ordered a high level probe against 45 officials of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation.

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has ordered a departmental probe against 45 officials of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC), who were indicted in the Vadnere committee report in 2010.

The departmental inquiry had been pending for two years.

Chavan, who was in Thane today, confirmed that he had approved the probe while denying that there was a delay of two years in taking the decision.

On why it took two years for the action, he said the government had to conduct its own inquiry and later arrive at the conclusion of ordering a probe and added that this process takes time.

The engineers, including VIDC`s former chief executive director DP Shirke, will now face probe on several counts including having turned a blind eye to government norms while clearing cost escalations, not supervising works on site and not following tender conditions.

The one-man Vadnere committee was set up in March 2010 following complaints and media reports over cost escalations, and official-contractor-politician nexus in approving projects in Vidarbha.

When asked about his meeting with NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar yesterday, Chavan said he had two-three meetings with Pawar in the recent past wherein the issues relating to and concerning the state and Centre were discussed.
Chavan said that the Industrial Policy of the state will come out only after a few issues relating to the SEZ are clarified by the Centre.

He said the policy itself was ready but certain issues relating to the SEZ need clarification from the Centre and only after that is received the policy would be released and implemented. This will happen soon, he said.

To a question regarding the bifurcation of Thane district, he said the issue was in the agenda of the state government and will surely happen, but did not specify time frame for the same.

When asked about the issue of the six co-operative banks on which action was being contemplated, Chavan said he was in contact with the RBI and also Finance Minister P Chidambaram in this regard.

On the industries facing several issues in Thane as a result of which the labour force was in a fix, he said the issue was also being taken care of by the state government and it will be ensured that the workforce does not suffer.