Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala was replying to a debate on a private member resolution during which the members were of the view that not much has happened in the parched region even after the previous UPA government had given Rs 7,000 crore package
The government today said it has initiated a number of schemes, including four irrigation projects, to take the parched region of Bundelkhand on the path of prosperity. “The government has allocated Rs 20,000 crore for irrigation under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY), which has identified 99 projects. Out of these, four projects are for Bundelkhand region,” said Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala. He was replying to a debate on a private member resolution during which the members were of the view that not much has happened in the parched region even after the previous UPA government had given Rs 7,000 crore package. The Bundelkand region falls in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and has been suffering from severe droughts and scaracity of water for many years.
The minister said the government is not just working to improve the irrigation but is also providing better quality seeds and farm technologies to the farmers. “We are also working to increase live stock ouput and have allocated Rs 8,000 crore for the dairy sector. Some of the benefits of this initiative will also go to Bundelkhand region,” Rupala said. He also talked about introduction of drip irrigation technology in Bundelkhand to deal with scarcity of water in the region. “With all these measures, I think that the region would move in the direction of prosperity,” the minister said. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, “Some of the irrigation schemes were there but funds were not allocated under those programmes. Now we have changed the process and have allocated the funds.” Citing an example, he said that delivering a baby is not enough as one has to bring the child up to dispense with his or her responsibility.
Rupala used the occasion to attack the Congress, which has been targeting the BJP over ‘jhumlas’ (slogans). “You are the ones who started the tradition of ‘jumla bazi’. You gave the ‘jumla’ of ‘Garibi Hatao’ (eradicate poverty). But you did not do that. That is why they (poor people) removed you,” the MoS for Agriculture told the Congress benches. He was apparently referring to Indira Gandhi’s slogan of ‘garibi hatao’. “Your Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had said that only 15 paisa out of the one rupee allocated by the government reaches the poor. You had highlighted the issue. We gave the remedy. Now the entire one rupee allocated reaches down the line through the states,” he said.
Rupala said the states are charged rate of interest on these allocations if the amount is not credited into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts well in time.
Acknowledging that nilgai is a menace, he said, “we have given permission to Gujarat to deal with the problem and if other states approach us, we would approve those also.” Earlier, Anil Kumar Sahani of JDU said Hindus do not kill nilgai because of the name ‘gai’, meaning cow, in it. About giving rights to Panchayats regarding mining of minerals in their regions, Rupala said, “we have done that in one scheduled tribe belt in Gujarat and it could be replicated in other states as well.” Under this arrangement, the permission for mining is given by Panchayats and they also get royalty without state’s intervention. Rupala also said that the state governments should be more vigilant especially when the rule of law is honoured in a region and people with might rule the roost.
Dismissing the claims of Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh about inaccuracy of the government data, Radha Mohan Singh said, “if this is the case, then we can also say that all the figures quoted since Independence by you (Congress) are not true.” Earlier participating in the debate, Digvijaya Singh asked the government to make sure that there should not be any shortage of funds for various programmes in the Bundelkhand region. B P Shukla (BJP) and Raj Babbar (INC) also participated in the discussion and sought more funds and launded the resolution for dealing with various issues related to parched land of Bundelkhand.