Rahul Gandhis Rs 7,266 crore Bundelkhand largesse is all set to begin rolling in the next few days when Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi,appointed head of a Central monitoring committee to oversee deployment of developmental funds for the region,convenes the first meeting with officials of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Chaturvedi has convened the first meeting with chief secretaries of both states on December 20,where he and other members of the committee will call for schemes from both governments to disburse the allotted funds for development of drought-prone Bundelkhand that is expected to symbolise the battle for political turf between the Congress and its opponents.
In the next three months before March 2010,both states have to prepare proposals worth Rs 1,140 crore under various Central government developmental schemes. However,their approval will rest with the Chaturvedi monitoring committee. For the year 2010-11,the committee will disburse Rs 2,734 crore and in the third year,the allocation will increase to Rs 3,392 crore.
There are still doubts about how much authority the monitoring committee can exercise if both Mayawati and Shivraj refuse to cooperate. The funds are to go directly to the state governments. Mayawati has already ridiculed the package,saying the actual allocation of fresh funds would only be a little over Rs 500 a year.
The Central package envisages development of 7 lakh hectares and 4 lakh hectares of farmland in Bundelkhand regions of UP and MP respectively. It also proposes to develop 60,000 hectares and 2,00,000 hectares of forest in the region. Part of the money (Rs 1,066 crore) will be disbursed through NREGA,the flagship scheme of the UPA.
For UP,the package sets aside funds for watershed development programmes that involve investment of Rs 840 crore while schemes to construct new ponds,wells and tanks will reach Rs 1,640 crore.
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