Gadkari working for development of farmers: Pawar
Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has come out in strong defence of Bharatiya Janata Party President Nitin Gadkari. In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN's Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai he says Gadkari was working for development of farmers and there was no evidence of personal corruption against him, as alleged by Team Kejriwal.
On the alleged Gadkari-NCP nexus in Maharashtra
Firstly I don't know what the irrigation scam is. Why allegations which have been placed by certain sections, which I was reading in the newspapers? Here specific question has been raised on Wednesday against then NCP irrigation minister (Ajit Pawar) and BJP's current president.
In a particular project land was available with the irrigation department which was owned by some farmers previously, which was acquired by the government, part of the land even today is cultivated by the same farmers.
There was a demand from Gadkari that land should be available for my institution for a particular purpose and irrigation dept or vis-a-vis irrigation development board had given approvals. Irrigation development board is headed by a minister and this is an approval by committee of the directors. I don't understand what is the scam here.
On the irrigation scam...that land cannot be given to a private trust
As per my information land cannot be given for long term basis...99 years...33 years. The document which I have seen on the internet which was also released by India Against Corruption that says that this particular piece of land was given for particular period.
Secondly, it doesn't look that that land was given individually to Gadkari. It was given to one organization and that organisation's responsibility was reserved by a different reason.
Those who know Maharashtra well are quite aware about the overall ground situation. In Maharashtra, there was a conscious effort to set up agro-based industries in cooperative sector and private sector. Western Maharashtra has successfully setup many industries, in parts of Marathwada there are many industries being set up, and are also running. But in Vidarbha region whatever industries that have been setup have unfortunately failed.
The allegation against Gadkari is that land has been given to him and he has set up power plants, sugar mills; but as per my information there are two sugar mills (One sugar mill's name is Wine Ganga in district Bhandara, the second sugar mill in Wardha called Mahatma). Both sugar mills are closed.
I was told that Gadkari has taken those mills and started running them. One of the major issues was non availability of quality sugarcane. So Gadkari had decided to bring excellent quality of sugarcane seed and plant it on that land, make multiples and distribute it to the farmers which they can plant in their fields for productivity and availability of sugarcane for the mill; and mill can run efficiently.
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Image: NCP supremo Sharad Pawar
'I have no business with Gadkari'
On Nitin Gadkari setting up agro-based industry
He (Nitin Gadkari) has setup an agro-based industry called Purti. The complaint is he has set up sugar mills, he has setup alcohol plant, he has setup power plant...Again, my own impression is that they are not fully aware...they are not aware of what is composite sugar mill.
It is one mill; in sugar mills you crush sugarcane and get juice, and from juice you can get sugar. When you crush sugarcane certain waste products come out, and you can process molasses and convert it into rectified spirit or ethanol.
And thirdly, whenever you crush dry sugarcane you can generate power. From one mill you can get power, ethanol and sugar. And Gadkari was trying to set up that, and I think he has set up that. That is my information.
On Anjali Damania's allegation on Gadkari saying "Woh humare chaar kaam karte hain, hum unke chaar kaam karte hai"
Firstly, I have no business with Gadkari. If anyone can establish something, I will be happy to hand over that business to them. No question of business. Politically we fight, in elections we fight; but in Maharashtra there is some culture. In Maharashtra generally there is a tendency that political workers should try and do some developmental work.
On the business-politician nexus
Application from Nitin Gadkari was made to irrigation minister on a particular date...The allegation comes within four days since sanction. But actually on the fouth day he has sent to appropriate authorities.
Signing by the ministry and sending it to appropriate authority is not a final decision. It takes few month, and sometimes a year as well.
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Image: BJP national president Nitin Gadkari
'Best is to go to court with the allegations'
On India Against Corruption
If anyone has got some grievance they have every right to make allegation. But if suppose somebody has done a wrong thing, the best is to prosecute him; go to the court and take appropriate action against him.
Or like Gadkari has offered, bring in any kind of enquiry; then somebody should go in depth and bring out the truth.
On Nitin Gadkari
I have not gone in depth, but on what I have seen so far I think setting up of sugar mills along with farmers is a service to that area.
Secondly taking land and providing excellent quality of seeds to hundreds of farmers is definitely useful to the farming community. Gadkari is a responsible man, and works responsibly.
On defending the BJP president
Anybody can say anything, but those who know Maharashtra will know there are certain apex bodies which have 30 members. We don't discuss politics there, we discuss development.
Image: Arvind Kejriwal