Decision on Bundelkhand relief package next month: Pawar

April 28th, 2008 - 8:25 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) A decision on a relief package sought for the drought-affected Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh would be taken by May 8, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar informed the Lok Sabha Monday. “A package of Rs.1,883 crore (Rs.18.83 billion) was sanctioned from the National Calamity Relief Fund. Recently a team was sent to Bundelkhand, which is part of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. An inter-ministerial meeting will take place on April 29 and then my ministry will take a final decision on May 8,” he said.

Pawar told the house that he had not received any request for a relief package for Bundelkhand from Uttar Pradesh’s Mayawati government but had come to know about her demand from media reports.

“Action is taken after a state government demands a package but in the case of Bundelkhand, which is a special case (due to the harsh conditions there), we are looking at long-term solutions (without waiting for the state government request),” he said.

Eight districts of Uttar Pradesh have been declared drought-hit.

Bundelkhand has become a bone of contention between the Congress and the state’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has visited the area a few times and taken up the cause of farmers there.

A fortnight ago, Gandhi had staged a sit-in protest and forced state government officials to listen to the woes of the farmers in Jhansi in Bundelkhand.

Chief Minister Mayawati has sought a package of Rs.800 billion for Bundelkhand and Purvanchal regions of Uttar Pradesh. She has blamed the central government for not giving enough funds to the state.

Last week, BSP members had forced adjournment of question hour in both houses of parliament over the issue. “We are giving two months time to the government to sanction the amount or we will withdraw support,” said BSP MP and national general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra.

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