Centre to announce drought package for Bundelkhand: Cong

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Mahoba, UP, Jan 16 (UNI) The Uttar Pradesh Congress today claimed that the Centre would soon announce a special package for drought-hit Bundelkhand region of the state.

Talking to mediapersons at Srinagar township here, UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi alleged that while the Mayawati government had sufficient funds, rampant corruption had created a situation where the real beneficiaries were not getting the assistance. ''The previous Mulayam Singh Yadav government was bad...but the present government is worse,'' she added.

The UP Congress president said a Central team had earlier visited the region and another team was already here to assess the situation. ''The Centre would soon announce a package for the area,'' she added.

Demanding immediate setting up of the second State Reorganisation Commission(SRC), Ms Joshi said Congress would support the creation of separate Bundelkhand state but the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government should first pass a resolution in the state Assembly for the division of the state.

AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by fellow AICC general secretary in-charge of UP Digvijay Singh and Ms Joshi, met the villagers and enquired about them about their problems, particularly about the BPL and job cards, midday meal and drought compensation.

At Srinagar, Mr Gandhi spent some time with the 25 family members of the farmers who had committed suicide and the Congress leaders tried to console them when they broke down and charged the UP government with ''criminal neglect.'' During his 20 minute stay, the farmers complained to Mr Gandhi about the ignorance of the state government towards their problems and urged the Congress to do something for them. They said Mahoba, known for betal leaves in the country was reeling under crisis and the entire 'paan' industry had collapsed.

Congress UP president Ms Joshi, when tried to know from SDM Ramshanker Gupta as to why the state government not doing anything for the people, the official said a survey was underway to assess the loss and the people affected.

UNI NAB MB SP BD1439

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