Maharashtra government may soon announce an inquiry into an alleged fodder scam worth hundreds of crore rupees during the previous Congress-NCP regime.
According to sources within the BJP, the scam took place between 2012 and 2014, the last two years of the previous government.
As the state, especially the Marathwada region, was facing severe drought, the government had ordered setting up of cattle camps and fodder depots across districts. The BJP leadership is of the opinion that there were huge irregularities in the way these fodder depots were set up. They alleged that most of the depots were allotted to institutions run by Congress and NCP activists and money was made available to them.
The camps and depots had been set up in most of the districts of Marathwada region and in some parts Satara, Sangli and Solapur districts.
Madhav Bhandari, chief spokesperson of Maharashtra BJP told THE WEEK that the party had been campaigning on this issue for last three to four years. "A public interest litigation had been filed by one of our activists from Sangola in Solapur district. We have been demanding an inquiry by state CID,” Bhandari said.
He said that many Congress, NCP politicians were involved in the alleged scam.
The PIL was filled by Gorakh Ghadge, taluk president of Shetkari Sanghatana, an ally of BJP in 2013. In January 2015, the high court had ordered that action be initiated as per law. “But till date, no information has been given as to how many FIRs were registered in connection with the scam,” Ghadge told THE WEEK.
He said that his Sangola taluk received Rs 283 crores for cattle and fodder camps in 2012-13 and 2013-14 . "Despite huge irregularities, the camp organisers were fined just Rs 19 crores and no case has been registered till date.”
Ghadge also alleged massive malpractices in the camps. "If a camp had 100 cattle, it was routinely shown that there were 200 animals. The government was paying Rs 80 for big animals and Rs 40 for smaller ones. Tagging of animals was also done wrongly. Same animals often got tagged every day as 'newly arrived cattle' in order to claim money from government. There were 1278 camps and a very few of them were run strictly as per rules,” said Ghadge.
The Relief and Rehabilitation department of the state government has now asked district administrations to dig out records in order to ascertain the scope of the scam.