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Corruption galore in Maha irrigation dept: Hazare

Osmanabad: With Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan announcing bringing about a white paper on dipping irrigation potential in the state and examining the spending by the department, Anna Hazare on Saturday said he could give evidences against the corrupt officials, provided the government acts on them.

"There are umpteen evidences of corruption in the irrigation department and so white paper should be released at the earliest," Hazare said addressing a public meeting here as part of his ongoing statewide tour for Lokpal Bill.

Speaking at the symposium on `Maharashtra – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow` on the occasion of the birth centenary of Maharashtra`s first chief minister Yashwantrao Chavan, the chief minister on Friday admitted that irrigation potential had grown only by 0.1 per cent in the last decade in the state and said he would ask the department to examine the spending. "I will ask the irrigation department to verify the exact amount spent on increasing irrigation capacity and what has actually been done and direct the concerned department to bring out a white paper," he had said.

Reacting to Chavan`s statement, Hazare said, "I have evidences listing the instances of corruption with the names of the irrigation officers. However, I could disclose them if the government assures me of action against them".

Chavan`s statement set the cat among pigeons as the irrigation department, which is now renamed as water resources, is held by Congress`s coalition partner NCP for the last 15 years since the alliance took over the state. Meanwhile, Hazare told the gathering that the strong Lokayukta at state and Lokpal at the Centre is the need of the hour to weed out corruption from the system.

He said the Centre remained "insensitive" towards the public outcry that was generated when he had launched the movement for strong Lokpal. "Another battle for the Lokpal Bill is needed," the Gandhian said. Hazare, who embarked on the 35-day statewide tour from Shirdi on May 1, left for Latur for as part of the drive.

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