Mayawati blames others for Bundelkhand situation; Cong hits back

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Lucknow, Jan 25 (UNI) Politics continues to boil over the Bundelkhand drought with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati hitting out at the Centre and previous state governments for the dismal situation in the region.

The state Congress was swift to counter the allegations claiming that despite UP getting maximum central funds, the state government has failed to utilise the same.

Ms Mayawati shot off a letter to Governor T V Rajeswar today about the entire situation of Bundelkhand alleging that the Centre was not considering the financial package demanded by the state government for the all round development of the region.

In her three-page letter to the Governor, Ms Mayawati pointed out that recently Mr Rajeswar had visited some places in Bundelkhand to oversee the relief work as he did not have time in the past.

''When the Centre can sanction Rs 3,750 crore for Vidharba in 2006 and Rs 1900 crore as loan relief package for the farmers of the states of Maharastra, Karnatak, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, then why such biased attitude against UP'', she questioned while stating that it was unfortunate that the Centre was not granting Rs 2797 crore sought as a loan for waiving debts of the farmers.

Reacting to the allegations of the CM, UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said UP has been granted Rs 34,000 crore during the current fiscal. ''Now it was upto the Chief Minister to explain to the people how and where the funds were utilised,'' she added.

She claimed that after the UPA government came to power at the Centre, UP had been the biggest beneficiary of central assistance.

Meanwhile, Ms Mayawati has also urged the Centre to amend Schedule-1 of the popular National Rural Employment Gurantee Act(NREGA) to include the works for construction of school, panchayat buildings and cleaning of the drainage in the villages under the ACT so that more people could be engaged for employment.

''I had already written to the PM for the amendment in the NREGA so that the development scenario of the villages could be changed,'' she asserted.

In her brief address, the BSP supremo made it clear that the BSP had ruled the state on four occassions for about three years where as the Congress had been in the power for 38 years and others for the remaining period. ''BSP cannot be held responsible for the miseries as other parties have ruled the state for maximum tenure,'' she said.

Highlighting the work done by her government in the Bundelkhand region, the CM said already Rs 415 crore has been sanctioned for the relief and developmental works with the state government increasing the minimum compensation amount from Rs 250 to Rs 1000.

UNI NAB/MB SB AS1832

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