|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Rahul begins his Bundelkhand outreach programme
January 16, 2008 16:25 IST
All India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi [Images] on Wednesday alleged that the main reason behind the 'continuous drought' in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh was the 'neglect' of the Mayawati government in that part of the state.
"Had the UP government honestly implemented the Centrally-sponsored schemes, the situation would have been different," Gandhi said.
He said the state government should immediately set its priority for the Bundelkhand region as any further delay could lead to a catastrophe.
Claiming that the Centre was closely monitoring the situation and a financial package to the tune of Rs 1,500 crores was under consideration, the Congress leader said the study committee of the party had recommended the package, but the state government's demand was received very late.
He said the Congress was serious on the Bundelkhand drought issue and would very soon announce a hefty package on the lines of Vidharba distress package.
Earlier, Gandhi began his two-day Bundelkhand tour to assess the drought situation by directly interacting with the people.
"Gandhi is likely to give his feedback to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] in New Delhi for the much-hyped special financial package for the region reeling under drought for the last five years," said Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Rita Bahuguna Joshi while interacting with villagers at Srinagar [Images] township of Mahoba district where 29 farmers have committed suicide following the prevailing drought.
"The Mayawati government came out of its slumber after Mr Gandhi took up the issue with the Prime Minister," she claimed.
Gandhi, accompanied by AICC general secretary in charge of UP, Digvijay Singh and Joshi met the villagers and enquired about their problems, particularly about the BPL and job cards, mid-day meals and drought compensation.
At Srinagar, he spent some time with the 25 family members of the farmers who had committed suicide. The Congress leaders had to console the family members when they broke down and charged the UP government with 'criminal neglect'.
During his 20-minute stay, the farmers complained to Gandhi about the 'ignorance' of the state government over their problems and urged the Congress to do something for them. They said Mahoba, known for Betal leaves, was reeling under the crisis and the entire 'paan' industry had collapsed.
When Joshi sought to know from SDM Ramshanker Gupta as to why the state government was doing nothing for the people, the official said a survey was underway to assess the loss and the people affected.
On Thursday, Gandhi and other leaders will attend the second state coordination committee meeting at Jhansi, which will be followed by a public meeting addressed by them.