The Centre on Saturday said that it was aware of the problem of waterlogging in Punjab and said steps would be taken to solve it so that the fertile land is not laid waste.
Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said that a committee could be constituted to look into the problem and suggesting measures to deal with it.
Nearly 4 lakh acres of land in Punjab is under water. Fertile land is going waste. Lakhs of families are facing problems. The Centre needs to take action. A report would be prepared in three months, Ramesh said.
He said that he has already talked Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and apprised him of the problem. Punjab Chief Minister is scheduled to meet the Planning Commission on May 14 where the issue could be discussed,Ramesh said,while addressing a seminar on rural development policies and programmes here.
He also announced that Centre will provide separate funds to Punjab for upgrading roads in six border districts of Amritsar,Gurdaspur,Ferozepur,Fazilka,Taran Taran and Pathankot under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY).
I have been asked by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to work out a special scheme for border districts of Punjab, he said,while adding that 1950 km of roads would also be upgraded in the other 16 districts of the state this year.
He said that on the lines of tribal and Naxal areas,the condition of minimum inhabitation of 500 persons for providing road connectivity under PMGSY would be relaxed to 250 persons in the case of border districts.
Expressing concern over sanitation projects in the Gram Panchayats,Ramesh asked the state government to bring improvement in this regard.
While in Punjab,only 170 villages out of 12,500 have been declared as Nirmal Gram Panchayats,in case of Haryana the figure was 1,500 villages out of 6500,which is nearly a fourth of the states total villages, he said,adding that Himachal Pradesh was is likely to be declared a Nirmal Rajya in next two months.
Earlier,Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had appealed to the Union Minister to grant a special package for the upgradation of 2000 km road under PMGSY in the state especially in the border,bet,waterlogged and kandi areas. He also demanded special funds to the tune Rs 750 crore for the cleaning and disposal of unhygienic water from about 10,400 village ponds across the state.
He requested the Minister to enhance the allocation to Rs 150 crore per year against Rs 89 crore to cover the balance 3481 villages under potable water scheme.
The Chief Minister said that there is an urgent need for a low cost sewerage system in the state for which the state requires nearly Rs 150 crore per year with total requirement of Rs 700 crore.