No scam in houses for slum dwellers: Ashok Chavan

July 27th, 2010 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Mumbai, July 27 (IANS) Countering opposition allegations of a Rs.70,000 crore scam in a slum housing project, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan Tuesday hit back by accusing the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (SS-BJP) alliance of misappropriating over Rs.60,000 in a housing scheme for poor in 1990s.
He was replying to a debate on the issue of corruption initiated by Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Eknath Khadse (BJP) who demanded an inquiry into what he alleged was a massive Rs.70,000 crore scam and irregularities in the Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA), entrusted with constructing free houses for slum dwellers.

Defending the government, Chavan in turn accused the SS-BJP alliance of having misappropriated over Rs.60,000 crore when it was in power between 1994-1999, through its brainchild, ‘Shiv Shahi’ housing scheme.

Chavan charged the opposition of raking up old issues to malign the ruling Democratic Front government and starting what he called “a political war”.

“The opposition is raising the same old issues repeatedly. Instead of doing this, they should suggest development issues to the government and help it in framing new policies for development,” Chavan said.

Dismissing the allegations of scams and irregularities levelled by the opposition, Chavan said that there was no means of bypassing any legal procedures in any of the SRA housing projects.

He pointed out that the projects were allotted to builders and developers as per the norms laid down by the state government and in a completely transparent process.

The chief minister added that the government has recovered the 25 percent earnest money from the developer and the project permissions were granted only after securing the consent of 70 percent of the beneficiaries (slum-dwellers).

Exploiting the situation, Chavan said, the former SS-BJP government had granted more than Rs.200 crore to Akruti Builders for the Shiv Shahi housing sceheme and granted a Rs.144 crore loan to another developer, Kiran Hemani Group.

Citing statistics, Chavan said that between 1995-99, when the SS-BJP alliance was in power, a total of 435 projects were sanctioned and if calculated it would amount to a scam of more than Rs.60,000 crore.

He informed the house that with a view to keep a check on slum proliferation in Mumbai, the government has decided to review their growth every two years.

To Khadse’s demand for setting up an inquiry committee of six legislators, Chavan said after reviewing the documents pertaining to the alleged scam, he would initiate appropriate action, if needed.

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