Gujarat’s newest scam

In this monsoon of raining scams by BJP Govt across the country, Modi’s home state Gujarat leads once again with numerous scandals. In yet another first, a new scam to cover up a previous scam is discovered. Just before monsoon arrived, Gujarat underwent a massive water scarcity. To the extent that Gujarat Govt declared in an unprecedented manner a ban on water irrigation for Kharif crop throughout the state. That resulted in water pilferage and state security was deployed at Sardar Sarovar dam and Narmada canals in a historical first to prevent theft. The pictures went viral about this. 

Now ‘Lokshahi Bachao’, an initiative launched by former BJP CM of Gujarat Suresh Mehta, noted environmentalist Mahesh Pandya and economist Hemant Shah alleged in a statement that Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani’s Sujlam Suflam Jal Sanchay Abhiyan’ was a massive programme of digging corruption. They allege that Gujarat CM lied to Niti Aayog about ‘Interlinking Rivers’. CM Vijay Rupani had promised publicly that the financial accounts of interlinking rivers will be put in public domain. But that has not happened at all. Now that rains have arrived, the entire scam will be covered up forgetting water scarcity scam. 

According to details of this scam, Gujarat Govt led by CM Vijay Rupani declared to Niti Aayog on 17th June that his Govt has interlinked 32 rivers of Gujarat under the scheme ‘Sujlam Suflam Jal Sanchay Abhiyan’ and had invited all state CMs to come and see it. But in reality, the Govt has not declared names of the rivers interlinked as per the claim anywhere. Neither any accounts have been made public as promised by the CM himself.

Now that the monsoon rains have arrived, all the rivers have new waters. But if the Jal Sanchay Abhiyan had concluded in June then why Govt didn’t declare any details then? In fact Govt massively undertook digging holes throughout the state and nothing else happened. The big question asked is CM Rupani declared on 29th April that financial accounts will be made public. Till date no such accounts have been revealed. Numerous letters to CM have had no official replies. A specific letter was answered by Additional Secretary to CMO requesting to contact Narmada Department. One month later Narmada Department has not provided any response. 

Now the allegation is that the BJP Govt had launched this entire Jal Sanchay Abhiyan to cover up another mega scam of Gujarat State Land Development Corporation. Govt had suspended the Corporation after the land scam was uncovered and transferred all their works to Narmada, Water Resources and Kalpasar departments. 

The Govt has not revealed what steps have been taken in the suspended corporation. The Chairman of the corporation is an IAS officer, then what inquiry has been done against him, is not revealed. This is a new kind of scam where an entire Govt project is eaten up by the Govt corporation’s own bureaucrats and no action has been taken even after the said corporation is suspended. This means that it’s not an individual scam but a systemic scam where even the Govt seems to be involved. 

Interestingly when ACB raided Gujarat Sate Land Development Nigam’s offices a scam in Panchmahal Khet Talavdi (Panchmahal Farming Pond) was uncovered. Rs 87,000 per pond were paid to 160 farmers aggregating to Rs 99 lakhs. The perpetrators were found to be Asst Regulator and Shahera Taluka Field Supervisor. They didn’t issue any applications for the ponds and payments have been made already. Similarly ACB found Rs 56 lakhs cash from the office of Joint Director in the land corporation. According to ACB’s confiscated computers, diaries and documents there are names of politicians and top bureaucrats which have not been revealed. 

It is no secret that a commission of 20 to 30% was the going rate for farming pond grant. The total scam of just the land development corporation touches Rs 3000 crores annually. Now the new scam of digging the same ponds deeper for water conservation was done to cover up the earlier scam of digging ponds in first place.

8000 ponds and rivers were undertaken to be dug deeper (Sujlam Suflam Jal Sanchay Yojana) by the CM Vijaya Rupani’s BJP Govt from 1st May – Gujarat Foundation Day. Without any details about the scheme, CM Rupani suddenly declared 12,000 ponds, rivers have been made deeper. No explanation about hoe the scheme was over achieved 150% (Modi Magic?) Now multiple scams are surfacing all across the state in North, South, East and West where even the dead have been found to be claimants of grants for pond multiplied by thousands. 

Instances of pond dug on 500 feet high hills, in a piece of land in forest reserve, more number of ponds on land than what shows on survey numbered lands. some even doesn’t have any agri land in this bizarre water scam. 

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