‘All the figures I have quoted are in the public domain.’
Firing a fresh salvo at Narendra Modi, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday said the Gujarat Chief Minister had been "badly misinformed" about his government's spending of central funds for the water conservation programme in drought-hit areas of the state.
Mr. Ramesh’s attack came a day after Mr. Modi’s government dismissed the "factually incorrect" claims made by the Rural Development Minister asserting that the state had failed to spend a chunk of the funds provided by the Centre for implementing the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP).
Further, Mr. Ramesh rejected the counter charges made by the Gujarat Government, saying that all the figures that he had mentioned in his letter to Mr. Modi on the issue of utilisation of central fund for IWMP in the state was not "manufactured" by the Rural Development Ministry.
In his fresh letter to the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Ramesh also said that the figures given by him in his earlier letter were based on utilisation certificates submitted by the state government.
"I am sorry that you have been badly misinformed. All the figures that I have quoted in my letter are in the public domain and are available on our website. We have not manufactured them. They are there for anybody to see," he said.
In his earlier letter, Mr. Ramesh had claimed that under the IWMP, the Centre had, so far, released Rs 702 crore and the unspent balance available with the state was nearly Rs 409 crore.
"In Gujarat, the cost of sanctioned projects between 2009-10 to 2013-14 is Rs 3,178 crore... Had Gujarat implemented its IWMP projects as it had committed to, it could have got another Rs 407 crore from the Centre over the last four years," the letter stated.