In a fresh attack on Narendra Modi, Jairam Ramesh today said the Gujarat Chief Minister had been "badly misinformed" about his government's spending of central funds for water conservation programme in drought-hit areas of the state.
His statement against the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate came a day after Narendra Modi government dismissed as "factually incorrect" the claims made by the Rural Development Minister that the state had failed to spend a chunk of the central funds meant for Centre's ambitious Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) in the state.
Jairam Ramesh rejected the counter charges made by the Gujarat Government, saying that all the figures that he had mentioned in his letter to Narendra 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, Jairam 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," Jairam Ramesh said.
In his earlier letter, 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 about 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," Jairam Ramesh had said.
Dismissing the allegation, state government spokesperson Nitin Patel had said yesterday that Jairam Ramesh's claims are factually incorrect and misleading as his data reflects expenditure up to June 30, 2013 only.
Jairam Ramesh also dismissed the allegations levelled Patel that only Gujarat has been targeted by the Centre for under-utilisation of fund and the figure of Rs 409 crore being unspent was "exaggerated."
"...similar letters of severe under-utilisation of funds have been sent to Chief Ministers of Odisha, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh. Thus, there is no deliberate targeting of Gujarat as is being made out," he said.
In his detailed letter in which he addressed the BJP leader