The Yogi Adityanath government today approved Rs 47 crore package to ensure immediate availablility of drinking water in the parched Bundelkhand region. The UP Chief Minister also said that if needed, the state government would make available additional funds under this head, but there should not be any problem of drinking water for the people and the cattle in Bundelkhand region. “Adityanath is also expected to visit the region this month,” a UP government spokesperson said. The UP Chief Minister said that Budelkhand was constinuously ignored in the last 15 years and no steps had been taken to ensure the wholistic development of the region.
Adityanath said he was aware of the hardships faced by the people of the region. “Now, the state government will make all efforts to ensure the development of the region in a planned manner,” the spokesperson said quoting the Chief Minister. During his ‘Deoria to Dilli Kisan Yatra’ in September, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had accused the Uttar Pradesh government of failing to improve situation in the Bundelkhand region, which was battling continuous drought. “The requirement in Bundelkhand is different and it needs to be addressed differently,” he had said at a ‘khat sabha’ in Banda.
Rahul had alleged that the Congress-led UPA government had given a special package to the area, but the SP government in Uttar Pradesh did not lend support to improve the situation in the region. In April last year, the Centre had said that farmers in Bundelkhand will get Rs 1,304 crore for drought relief under National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF). Also mandays under the MNREGA was increased to 150 as a review was undertaken by the Prime Ministers Office of the situation in the region.
The CM also decided that the National Rural Livelihood Mission will be intensified and would be extended to all the blocks for alternative sources of income, construction of water tanks and building of dug wells and farm ponds on a priority basis under various projects and schemes for Bundelkhand.
At a review meeting, held on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh, it was decided that the Centre and the state government will work together for long-term sustainable solutions to address the problem of vulnerable regions in natural distress.
In May 2016, a ‘water train’ had led to a war of words between the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government when it arrived Jhansi without the “promised” 70,000 litres of water. The train was sent from Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam district for the drought-hit Bundelkhand on the instruction of Railway Board, days after a similar arrangement was made for Latur in Maharashtra.
SP members on May 6, 2016 walked out of Rajya Sabha charging the Centre with playing petty politics by sending an empty water train to drought-hit Bundelkhand region. The SP members alleged that while the Centre has not heeded to state governments requests for additional funds for tankers and dam to deal with drought in Bundelkhand, it sent the water train without speaking to the state government.
The UP government on May 5, 2016 had turned down the Centre’s offer to send a water-train to the state’s drought -hit Bundelkhand region, saying the water crisis was not as serious as in Maharashtra’s Latur. It, however, requested the Centre to provide it 10,000 water tankers for distributing water in the region.