A parched Bundelkhand gets its due in UP Budget

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Lucknow, Feb 12 (UNI) The drought-hit Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, which had of late become a hotbed of political activities'', today got a major chunk of developmental schemes in the 2008-09 Budget.

The Bahujan Samaj Party government announced a series of incentives for the parched region to pull it out of the current state of affairs.

A decision to waive off interest accumulated on agricultural bank loans of farmers in all the seven districts of the region. Was announced. An expenditure of Rs 300 crore is estimated to be incurred on it. A provision of Rs 100 crore has been made in the Budget. If need be, additional amount will be provided, said state Finance Minister Lalji Verma.

Another decision to implement drip irrigation system in Bundelkhand was taken in the Budget.

In Banda district of the region, a new Baba Saheb Bhim Rao medical university has expected to come up. In Jhansi, a Para- Medical training college have been proposed. The two projects would cost Rs 350 crore. Another Rs 100 crore have been earmarked for an agricultural university in the parched region.

In the recent past, political parties descended on the drought-hit areas of Bundelkhand to gain political mileage out of the region's plight.

Following the state government's announcement to release Rs 325 crore for relief work in the area, Opposition parties alleged large-scale ''misuse of funds'' and decided to launch a movement.

The Congress was the first to move in by announcing a coordination committee meeting in Jhansi on January 17 where AICC General Secretary and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi batted for a separate Bundelkhand state. The BJP had then sent a fact-finding team to Bundelkhand and blamed the state government for the misery of the people.

Soon after Mr Gandhi's visit, Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati visited the region and lashed out at the Congress.

Hitting out at the Amedhi MPs criticism against the government for the poverty among the farmers in Bundelkhand, Ms Mayawati flayed the Central government for sitting over her demand for a special package of Rs 80,000 for the development of Bundelkhand and Purvanchal regions of the state. She announced her own package of Rs 1600 crore for Bundelkhand.

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