CM seeks central help for Gosikhurd project
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CM Prithviraj Chavan is knocking at the Centre door for funds to complete the Gosikhurd irrigation project in Vidarbha. Chavan, who is on a four-day visit to Delhi, is tryinging to push industrial and irrigation works in the region.
CMO sources said, "Gosikhurd is a national irrigation project and we are banking on central funding. The project work has abruptly stopped after allegations of financial irregularities."
The ministry of water resources has suggested CM consider an alternative plan if the Centre delays release of funds. The department has said the state should borrow Rs 2,000 crore from a bank for Gosikhurd and repay the loan as and when the Centre releases funds.
But CM has turned down the proposal.
The present cost of the Gosikhurd project is an estimated Rs 13,000 crore. During 2008-09, the state government had told the Centre the cost was Rs 7,777 crore. The project was mooted three decades ago at Rs 372 crore.
A central team that visited the site raised objections and asked the state to take corrective measures.
An irrigation department officer said, "The work in Gosikhurd has come to a standstill. Funds expected from the Centre have been delayed." The work has stopped following the irrigation scam and action against 14 field officers.
Ahead of the 2014 assembly and parliament elections, there is pressure from ruling Congress members to push the project.
Union industries minister Praful Patel has also voiced concern about the incomplete dam.
A senior minister from Vidarbha said, "Chavan alone can convince the Centre to release funds for the project that promises to irrigate 2.5 lakh hectares in six districts."
Elected members representing Congress want the state government to take steps to ensure canal shoddy work is redone.
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