May 20, 2016
Most of the regions in India are facing scarcity of water and are drought hit. One of the regions facing the water crisis is Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh which is a drought-hit region.
Uttar Pradesh government announced relief packages for drought hit Bundelkhand, nearly 2.30 lakh families are given monthly free ration in the drought affected areas. After the visit of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, he announced the extension of the relief package for the drought hit areas through which ‘Samajwadi Drought Relief Ration Material’ supply is being done in addition to the regular Public Distribution System (PDS) of grains for Antyodaya families.
Efforts of Uttar Pradesh Government to overcome Drought
The Uttar Pradesh government has directed to the officials that more people in Bundelkhand should be covered under the ‘Samajwadi Pension Scheme’ so that the financially weak will have money in their hands. A special package for Bundelkhand water issue was also introduced by which Rs.200 crore has been issued to overcome the water crisis and Rs.40 crore for new handpumps in draught affected areas of Uttar Pradesh by CM Akhilesh Yadav.
A project of Rs. 1,988 crore has been forwarded to the centre for approval to transport surface water from one place to another to deal with Bundelkhand water issues.
The Uttar Pradesh government asked Central government to provide tankers to distribute water in the region as it was not possible for a water train to reach all parts of the affected areas. Uttar Pradesh government also mentioned that the region already contains enough water in the form of ponds and lakes which is available in most of the regions but the only problem was to transport the water to the drought affected areas in Bundelkhand for which the U.P. Government had already distributed 400 tankers and it needed help from centre in the form of tankers to deal with Bundelkhand water crisis.
The pictures on Twitter account clearly depicts the effort by the Uttar Pradesh government which shows that the source of water was already available.
Story of the Empty Water Train
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav asked Central government to provide tankers to distribute water in drought affected areas of Uttar Pradesh. But the Central government instead of providing tankers for water distribution sent a water train which was to be filled in Uttar Pradesh itself and then moved to the district to provide water.
Uttar Pradesh government refused to accept the water train long before they knew that the train was empty. The wagons were already empty when the train reached Jhansi, the DM of Jhansi confirmed after reviewing. Mahoba and Jhansi district magistrate’s already wrote to railways that there was no need of water trains in drought hit areas of Uttar Pradesh but then even Central government sent a water train and that too empty.
Real Story behind the “Paani Politics”
Union Water Resources Minister, Uma Bharti in a statement said,”Mr. Yadav is ‘egoistical’ as he refused Central govt.’s water help.” In a reply to that statement, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav wrote a letter to Uma Bharti seeking help with 10,000 water tankers. CM Akhilesh Yadav also wrote that the traditional sources in the drought-hit region still contains enough water. He added that the U.P government is facing a challenge of supplying water as the train cannot reach far flung areas, where only a tanker can reach by road. CM also wrote that the need of the hour was not to avail water but to provide water where it is needed and also mentioned that he will ask for water trains too if any region will need it.
SP member Naresh Agarwal raised the issue in the house and also mentioned that the central government never contacted to the state before sending any water train. He also added that the Uttar Pradesh government asked for funds for water tankers, hand pumps and for dams but the Centre clearly never fulfilled the need and quoted that the Central government was playing “Water Politics”or “Paani politics”.