The Planning Commission has rejected the Uttar Pradesh governments proposals for the Bundelkhand region,saying their estimates of cost were more than three times the estimates given by the Madhya Pradesh government for similar projects. The Bundelkhand region of central India straddles the two states.
In six months of the second phase of the Bundelkhand Special Package,some 40 projects worth Rs 1,022 crore were approved,of which only one worth Rs 187 crore is in UP.
As per Government of India guidelines,irrigation projects should cost Rs 2.5 lakh per hectare. By contrast,UPs proposal for the Jamrar Irrigation Project estimated a cost of Rs 7.89 lakh per hectare,and was rejected.
Last month,the National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA),working under the Planning Commission,wrote to Deepak Singhal,UP principal secretary (Irrigation),asking him to propose any other alternate and technically viable project.
Another proposal for the Chillimal Pump Canal Project was rejected because the benefit-cost ratio had not been worked out as per guidelines,among other reasons.
J S Samra,CEO of NRAA,said,It is unfortunate that only one project of UP was approved in the last six months,but the fault lies with the state government. The terrain in UP is less challenging than in MP,but they have estimated a very high cost. According to Samra,all irrigation project proposals approved for MP estimated cost at between Rs 2 and Rs 2.5 lakh per hectare.
More than a third of the allocated funds for UP are yet to be released. By contrast,over 96 per cent of the funds allocated for MP have been released. The package was sanctioned in September 2009 and was supposed to be completed by March 31,2012,but was extended. NRAA is the nodal agency for the implementation of the package.