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Irrigation schemes will soon be taken up in the parched Bundelkhand region, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said on Saturday. Bharti, who met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow, said a Development Council will be constituted soon for the backward region. On the demand for a separate Bundelkhand state, she said a state reorganisation commission has to be first set up for it where a resolution will have to be moved. “Actually Bundelkhand falls in two states, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh…people on that side are not ready for a separate state…first this matter will have to be resolved,” she told mediapersons.
The region covering 70,000 sq km is spread over seven districts of UP — Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Banda and Chitrakoot, and six districts of MP — Datia, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Panna, Sagar and Damoh. Bharti said ponds in the region dating back to the times of the Bundela and Chandel rulers could be revived to deal with perennial drought conditions as well as to provide drinking water.
The Adityanath government has already approved a Rs 47 crore package to ensure immediate availability of drinking water in the arid region. The Chief Minister has also said that, if needed, the state government would make available additional funds, but there should be no scarcity of drinking water for the people and the cattle there. Adityanath is also expected to visit the region this month, a UP government spokesperson said. Bharti, who also holds the portfolio of river development and Ganga rejuvenation, said: “We (Centre) want to give (UP government) Rs 7,000 crore for the Ganga by May-end…Centre wants to help the state by giving Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore for irrigation projects.”
She said that Adityanath, as a member of the Lok Sabha, had been raising the issue of cleaning the Ganga in Parliament. Bharti said officials of state and centre will give a presentation before the Chief Minister on cleaning of the river and hoped all hindrances would be removed for work to start speedily.
She expressed confidence that development work will be taken up in a big way under the Adityanath government. On alleged scams during the previous Samajwadi Party government in projects like the Gomti Riverfront and on other rivers including Ganga, she said, “We will extend support to the projects but till the shortcomings are not brought out in the open, things will not improve and so all scams will be probed and works will also go on.” On the raging triple talaaq issue, she said it is not a matter of religion but of the law and there is always scope of improvement in society. “Triple talaaq is against humanity and we hope that soon a way will be found on this count,” she added.