Cong bends backward to please SP; doles out Rs 60,000 cr

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Akhilesh Yadav
New Delhi, Jul 11: The Centre seems to be doling out incentives by the sack loads for Uttar Pradesh and is blinking to the demands raised by West Bengal that is facing a severe cash crunch. Rumours are doing the rounds that this largesse is due to the support offered by the Samajwadi party towards UPA's presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee.

UP will enjoy a steep rise in the yearly state allocation from the Centre amounting to close to Rs 60,000 crore. This decision arrived following a meeting between UP Chief Secretary Javed Usmani and Principal Secretary in the PMO Pullok Chatterjee. Among the many key decisions taken include - Rs 400 crore extra for organising the Mahakumbh; Rs 1500 crore allocation for rainwater harvesting; Rs 9880 crore for tackling floods and other irrigation issues; Rs 1100 crore for providing potable water; Rs 600-700 crore per annum for five years towards building water pipelines in UP villages and Rs 4000 crore for construction of universities in nine districts. Apart from this, the Centre will also make a sizeable contribution towards CM Akhilesh Yadav's free laptop scheme.

The CM had earlier denied that the fund sought from the Centre had anything to do with the backing provided by SP to Pranab's candidature. He has been quoted as saying, "Uttar Pradesh needs a special package and the party is trying to gain the maximum for the state which has suffered due to the plundering by the previous Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government."

Besides this, the SP government is seeking Rs 2,500 crore from the Kendriya Marg Nidhi and another Rs 1,000 crore under the interstate connectivity project to upgrade 500 km roads on the Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand borders.

It now remains to be seen if this largesse from the Centre will "bring the state back on track" and "fast track it on the development route" as promised by Akhilesh Yadav.

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