Current Affairs

Cracks start to appear in BJP-MGP alliance

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s ‘Zero-Corruption’ mantra seems to stifling the Public Works Department (PWD) minister Sudin Dhavlikar who expected the plump portfolio of this ministry to be a cash-cow like it was milked by the former PWD minister Churchill Alemao in the Congress-led government. However, stricter and constant vigilance of the CM on this ministry has left the MGP minister disgruntled and unhappy.

Intention to follow a similar pattern of functioning as his predecessor came to the fore, when the PWD minister even after three months failed to move a note against the controversial PWD circular which even the Vigilance Department found illegal and not in government interest. If you may recall this is a circular brought into effect by Churchill Alemao without any approval of then Finance Minister Dayanand Narvekar or Chief Minister Digambar Kamat. But it is learnt that Parrikar was keen to de-notify the controversial circular and was working towards that action. This however, has not gone down well with Dhavlikar.

Secondly, the CM has ordered the suspension of three engineers in the suicide of the contractor Harmalkar which investigations by A S Rane into the case revealed it happened on account of the harassment of the PWD workers for kickbacks on contracts. However, while CM suspended the PWD engineers Dhavlikar defended two of them saying that they were honest and that the contractor committed suicide due to certain family problems. Due to which the PWD Minister till now has not issued the suspension orders.

On an earlier occasion too, the CM had intervened in another PWD related matter pertaining to JAICA works and had renegotiated with contractors for lesser rates compared to rates than what was quoted.

Sources close to the Dhavlikar camp reveal that there was a huge expectation from MGP that through PWD a lot can be earned. This was an expectation also from the former PWD minister who was hoping that his close-associate Dhavlikar would pass all his pending works without much fuss and also put a lid on the huge corruption that happened during his tenure. But with Parrikar keen to bring out the PWD skeletons from the closet and tighten corruption across government department especially PWD, Dhavlikar and MGP are not happy.

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