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Dec 02, 2012 at 01:28pm IST

Irrigation scam: Kejriwal to release Black Paper in response to Maharashtra's White Paper

Mumbai: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal will release a "Black Paper" on Sunday on the Maharashtra irrigation projects. Kejriwal will release the Black Paper in Roha in Maharashtra - political stronghold of state Irriagation Minister Sunil Tatkare. Kejriwal is releasing the Black Paper in response to the White Paper on irrigation over the past decade prepared by Maharashtra's Water Resources Department (WRD).

The White Paper, which was tabled in the Maharashtra Cabinet on Thursday, virtually gave a clean chit to former irrigation minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar. Pawar had resigned as the Maharashtra deputy chief minister following allegations of a huge scam in irrigation projects. The irrigation portfolio has always been with the NCP.

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Meanwhile, Kejriwal alleged that in Maharashtra, farmers were forced to commit suicide. He said that the farmers in Maharashtra struggle to get right price for their crops like sugarcane because the government is with the sugar mill owners. The activist-turned-politician said that the issues related to farmers like irrigation, land acquisition would be his party's top priority.

"The Black Paper has been prepared after studying and analysing data from various sources such as Water Resources Department, Central Water Commission, Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Government of Maharashtra and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development," said a statement released by the AAP.

"The findings show that the WRD's tall claims about the area brought under irrigation are manipulative and entirely contradictory," a party release said on Thursday. "This Black Paper exposes the farcical exercise of the WRD's White Paper and proves how bogus an attempt of face-saving it is, largely on account of coalition political compulsions," it added.

The Black Paper illustrates what a genuine White Paper on irrigation over the past decade should have ideally been like and the issues that really ought to have been addressed, it said. "It illustrates that the figures relating to the area brought under irrigation, as claimed in the White Paper, is a blatant attempt to mislead everyone since the fact that this increase in area brought under irrigation is a result of irrigation due to wells, bore wells, drip irrigation, lift irrigation and not just due to dams and canals for which the WRD has made huge expenditure," the release said.

"The most important aspect of the Black Paper is its exposing the modus operandi of how the irrigation scam was perpetuated by the politician-bureaucrat-contractor nexus, it said. A public rally is scheduled to be held at Roha on December 2 to launch the Maharashtra chapter of the Aam Aadmi Party," it further said.

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