Welcoming a report presented by a four-member committee headed by former additional chief secretary Vijay Kumar, the Maharashtra Congress on Thursday says the findings of the committee prove allegations of corruption made by the party.
Sachin Sawant, general secretary and spokesperson of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) also slammed the previous government headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Devendra Fadanavis for 'massive irregularities and corruption in the Jalyukta Shivar Yojana'.
In a release, Mr Sawant says, "The committee report has recommended 900 cases for inquiry through the anti-corruption bureau and 100 cases for departmental inquiry. The inquiry committee set up by the state government after the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) has confirmed the corruption in the Jalyukta Shivar Yojana and there is a need to go to the root of the corruption in the scheme."
The objective of the Jalyukta Shivar Yojana was to arrest the rain water in the village area, increase the ground water level and irrigation area as well as to increase the efficiency of water usage. However, the scheme has failed miserably in achieving any of these objectives without exception, he added.
Earlier, the MPCC had alleged that the scheme has been embroiled in corruption since 2015 and "had become a lucrative magnet for the BJP cronies and contractors close to the party".
Mr Sawant says, despite spending around Rs10,000 crore on the Jalyukta Shivar, more than 7,000 tankers had to be used to supply water to the state in May 2019.
According to the 2018 groundwater survey and development agency report, the groundwater level in 13,984 villages in 252 talukas had gone down by more than one meter and according to the same report, the water level in 31,015 villages had gone down.
"Despite this, the Fadanavis government continued to praise the scheme to keep the interest of contractors alive. Hundreds of crores of rupees were wasted on fake advertisements like 'I am the beneficiary' in which BJP workers were also shown as beneficiaries," he added.
The MPCC had pointed out that "the Jalyukta Shivar scheme was an abject failure; showing that the work in the scheme was done in an unscientific manner and that the JCB machines were used only to dig pits and to store sludge instead of water and many works had not been audited."
"The state government has now received the report of the committee appointed by the MahaVikasAaghadi (MVA) government to probe the corrupt scheme and we hope that the BJP's corrupt cronies and guilty contractors will be punished soon," Mr Sawant added.