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Anna Hazare opposes cabinet expansion, watershed corporation

Nashik May 4: Veteran social workers Anna Hazare has threatened to launch a statewide stir to oppose the proposed cabinet expansion of the Democratic Front government in Maharashtra as well as the formation of a watershed development corporation. Hazare, who was in Nashik to lead a morcha at the divisional revenue commissionerate, said that when the state was facing a financial crunch, the cabinet expansion would further tax the state exchequer.

He pointed out that he had insisted on the withdrawal of "Z" category security given to him by the government to save taxpayers' money. He said that hesitatingly the government had removed his security cover. He said that neithera the previous Shiv Sena-BJP alliance government nor the present Congress led coalition government had understood the importance of the model village scheme based on the Ralegan Siddhi village pattern developed by him.

He said that about Rs 30 crore to Rs 40 crore would be required annually to implement the Ralegan pattern in the state but the policy makers had no money for the purpose. He said that in event of the wrong priorities of the government, there was no point in either establishing a seperate corporation for watershed development or holding any government office for the implementation of the Ralegan pattern of development. He said that he would not hold any public office in future.

He claimed that the formation of a new corporation for watershed development would encourage contract system and huge watershed works, at the cost of minor watershed development works, adversely affecting the whole exercise of watershed development. He pointed out that even after spending Rs 6,000 crore on the model village scheme over the past 12 years, about 17,000 villages were still facing water scarcity. He attributed it to the wrong priorities of the policy makers and the widespread corruption in the country. He further said that the nexus among politicians, criminals and officials had led to the siphoning off public funds, affecting developmental works. He said that while the citizens were yet to get the basic needs of life, concessions were being offered to capitalists and prices of essential commodities were being hiked.

Hazare said that his statewide agitation to demand the right of information would continue and would be intensified with a Jail Bharo agitation. He said that the secrecy maintained by the bureaucracy had led to delays, corruption and inflicted injustice on the people. He demanded that all information concerning government spending be displayed on the internet so that any citizen could access the information and find out how public money was being spent.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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