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    Published On : Sun, Jun 8th, 2014
    Latest News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

    Finance & Planning Department flatly refuses to share vital information on Vidarbha’s funds


    The Department was severely reprimanded by State Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) by saying that it is breach of Right to Information. The CIC Ratnakar Gaekwad ordered the Department to submit the information in respect of funds for the period of 12 years on
     June 30. Commenting on the order of CIC Ratnakar Gaekwad, Adv Madhukar Kimmatkar said that doubts over the funds meant for development of backward Vidarbha areas being diverted to other regions have emerged true.  Now, the exact figure of funds diverted to other regions would be cleared once the information is provided.

    Nagpur News.

    The attempt of Maharashtra Finance and Planning Department to unscrupulously hide information on how much money spent on development of backward Vidarbha and how much of its money diverted boomeranged. The Department was severely reprimanded by State Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) by saying that it is breach of Right to Information. The CIC Ratnakar Gaekwad ordered the Department to submit the information in respect of funds for the period of 12 years on June 30.

    According to directives of the Governor of Maharashtra, the Development Boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada and the rest of Maharashtra are to be distributed outlays in annual Budget for removal of development backog. The Governor of Maharashtra has the special responsibility of ensuring equitable allocation of funds for development expenditure over the areas of Development Boards.The funds so allocated shall be non-divertible from the area of one Board (region) to that of another Board (region).

    However, the State Government plays the step-motherly game and shows the funds given but only on papers. Actually, the funds were never spent on Vidarbha’s development. In view of this “fraud” being committed by Maharashtra Government and to know the truth, Adv Madhukar Kimmatkar, a senior member of Vidarbha Statutory Development Board and who has deep knowledge of Vidarbha backlog, had sought information from Maharashtra Finance and Planning Department in this respect. However, the Department flatly refused to share the information. Adv Kimmatkar then took the help of RTI Act to procure the information. Initially, Adv Kimmatkar was replied that no such information is available with the Department. Subsequently, Adv Kimmatkar filed an appeal with the Chief Information Commissioner against the Department. Recently, Adv Kimmatkar was called for a hearing wherein the CIC Ratnakar Gaekwad issued the order to the Department.

    In his order, the CIC Gaekwad noted that the information sought was required in public interest. Therefore, publication of information regarding funds spent from 2002 to 2014 under jurisdiction of Vidarbha Statutory Development Board is mandatory. But the Finance and Planning Department, by refusing to share the information, has breached the RTI Act. To say that the information is not available is unethical and irresponsible. It is very serious matter to hide the information from public on how much money spent and how much money diverted out of allocate funds especially in view of the standing orders of Governor. Non-sharing of information amounts to contempt of very principles of RTI Act. The Department was expected to publish the facts on its own, said the CIC in his order.

    Commenting on the order of CIC Ratnakar Gaekwad, Adv Madhukar Kimmatkar said that doubts over the funds meant for development of backward Vidarbha areas being diverted to other regions have emerged true. That is why the Department hesitated in giving the information. Now, the exact figure of funds diverted to other regions would be cleared once the information is provided. Similarly, the ministers, who frequently claimed ending of Vidarbha’s development backlog and no diversion of irrigation fund, would be exposed, asserted Adv Kimmatkar.

    Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha(rajeev.nagpurto[email protected])

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