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Cong sees 'silent undercurrent' against BJP in west UP

April 19, 2024 12:49 IST

The Congress on Friday claimed that a 'silent undercurrent' is brewing across western Uttar Pradesh against the 'failures' of the Modi government, as it flagged issues such as 'neglect' of sugarcane farmers and examination paper leaks.

IMAGE: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during a roadshow ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, in Saharanpur on April 17, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll rally in Amroha.

"Today's questions for the PM as he heads to UP: Why has the BJP neglected UP's sugarcane farmers? Rs 20,000 crores later, why is the Ganga still India's most polluted river? Is the Modi Sarkar doing anything to prevent paper leaks?


Elaborating on what he said were 'jumla details', Ramesh said Uttar Pradesh is India's largest sugarcane producer and yet, the BJP government has 'neglected' farmers' calls to increase the price of sugarcane.

"Prices stand at just Rs.360/quintal in UP, much lower than Rs.386/quintal in Punjab and Rs.391/quintal in Haryana. Price hikes have also failed to keep pace with inflation and farmers are now struggling due to the rising cost of fertiliser and pesticides," he said

Area under cultivation has come down by almost 4000 hectares in the last three years, he said.

Amidst sugarcane shortages, mills are struggling to pay sugarcane farmers on time, and there are fears that some may shut down permanently, Ramesh said.

'This vicious cycle is threatening the livelihoods of sugarcane farmers and mill workers but the BJP government is nowhere to be seen. What is the double Anyay BJP government doing to support sugarcane farmers and mill workers in UP?' he said in a post on X.

Noting that in 2014, PM Modi had promised a cleaner Ganga through his government's flagship Namami Gange programme, Ramesh said the project sanctioned an outlay of Rs 20,000 crore between 2014 and 2019, and 815 new sewage treatment plants (STPs) had been built or proposed by 2021.

The ministry of Jal Shakti claims that there has been a marked improvement in the state of the river but, as is often the case with this government, that claim turned out to be a 'bold-faced lie', Ramesh said.

"The Sankat Mochan Foundation found that rather than improving, water quality in the Ganga has actually been degrading - faecal coliform bacteria levels are a staggering one million times higher than the permissible limit of 500 per 100 millilitres," he said.

Ramesh said the Central Pollution Control Board also found that water quality does not comply with their standards.

"While the Ministry of Jal Shakti claims that new STPs are working fine, a professor at IIT Varanasi said they were 'utterly useless' and that the government's plans were completely 'bogus'. Furthermore, as early as 2017, a CAG audit report of the project noted 'deficiencies in financial management, planning, implementation and monitoring'," the Congress leader said.

"To make matters worse, contracts for STPs have been awarded to companies with well-established links to the BJP. In 2017, a 150+ crore STP contract was given to a company chaired by former BJP MP Subhash Chandra that had no record of working in sewage treatment," he alleged.

"Another plant is operated by the Adani group, and 'scientific' studies worth 5 crores have been awarded to the Patanjali Organic Research Institute, he said.

Noting that last year, the Central Pollution Control Board declared the Ganga the most polluted river in India, Ramesh asked what have the Indian taxpayer's Rs 20,000 crores achieved.

"Under the Modi Sarkar's reign, more than 43 papers for government recruitment exams have been leaked, hurting at least 2 crore candidates. Most recently, 60 lakh applicants for the UP Police Exams had their futures clouded when exams were cancelled due to paper leaks," he said.

These are not just numbers - it is the hopes and dreams of India's youth that are hanging in the balance, Ramesh asserted.

"Under its Yuva Nyay Guarantee, the Congress has committed to bringing robust legislation that will design institutions and best practices to prevent paper leaks from occurring in the first place. What is Mr. Modi's vision to address the harm done to our youth?" he said.

As the PM visits West Uttar Pradesh, it is important to remember that while he may have engineered the flight of the Rashtriya Lok Dal from the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the real Lok Dal is still with INDIA and that the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in West Uttar Pradesh was welcomed with hoardings and banners of Choudhary Charan Singh and Indira Gandhi, Ramesh said.

"A silent undercurrent is brewing across this region, against the failures of this Government," he said and asked the PM to break his 'silence' on these issues.

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