Construction of seven big market yards for agriculture produce and about 133 rural infrastructure nuclei (smaller selling points) worth Rs 691.5 crore under phase I of Bundelkhand development package is stuck midway as the state is running two years behind the deadline to utilise first installment of Rs 320 crore.
Now, both the Centre and the state are at loggerheads over the release of the remaining Rs 371.5 crore, leaving most of these markets half constructed. Sources in the government said that recently, a central team government had visited seven districts of Bundelkhand to inspect these half-constructed markets but the final decision is still awaited.
“There was an initial delay in the release of funds. Then work could not start due to the election notification and further, selection of required land took time. But the project picked up speed and entire first installment has now been utilised,” said Anup Yadava, Director of the State Agricultural Produce Marketing Board — the implementation agency for the project.
The first installment of Rs 320 crore for the project was released by Centre in March 2011. But with the model code of conduct coming into force for the Assembly elections, new works could not be allotted. Work began only after new the government assumed power in March 2012. Sources said that it was only last year that work actually picked up pace. As the Centre had not made any provision of funds for warehousing and integrated marketing infrastructure, it was indicated to the state that it has to restrict its activities upto Rs 320 crore only. But, the state reasoned that since there was no such clause earlier, the Centre would have to bear the cost of the entire construction. Sources said the state government plans to raise the issue during meeting of the chief ministers called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on December 7 to discuss the future structure of the Planning Commission.
The first phase of Bundelkhand package was meant for 2009 to 2012, but the state sought more time to complete the project. After a delay of almost two years, the utilisation certificates for Rs 320 crore was sent, demanding the release of the second installment of Rs 371 crore.
Seven big market yards were to be constructed, one each in all the seven districts of Bundelkhand — Banda, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Chitrakoot, Mahoba and Hamirpur — on 150 acre of land. These yards have to provide shops, auction areas to sell produce, warehousing facilities, hospital for both humans and cattle as well as bank counters while RIN are supposed to be constructed at the tehsil level to cater to primary storage and distribution needs. Sources said Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is expected to take up the issue with the Prime Minister, along with the delay in release of Rs 95.22 crore — supposed to be released this financial year under the second phase of the Bundelkhand package.