(Breaking News) Central Government Approves Rs 7,266 Crore Special Package For Bundelkhand

Central Government Approves Rs 7,266 Crore Special Package For Bundelkhand

Rahul GandhiThe war-of-words between UP chief minister Mayawati and the Congress is set to intensify with the Union Cabinet on Thursday approving a special package of Rs 7,266 crore for drought relief and integrated development of the Bundelkhand region through which Congress is trying to regain its lost ground in Uttar Pradesh. After the meeting, I&B minister Ambika Soni said, "The scheme will be implemented over three years in seven districts of UP and six districts of Madhya Pradesh." Keen on spending the money by the next assembly elections, the UPA government has also set up a monitoring group -- with members of the Planning Commission in-charge of UP and MP as chairperson and co-chairperson and the chief secretaries of UP and MP as members -- to oversee the implementation of the package.

"A central team had submitted its report in April 2008, recommending a Rs 8,316 crore package. The cabinet has approved a Rs 7,266 crore package," Soni said.

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The package aims to develop 7 lakh hectares of land in UP and four lakh hectares in MP with watershed development measures. An additional 60,000 hectares of forest areas in UP and 2 lakh hectares of forest areas in MP will be taken up for integrated conservation and management of rainfall, soil, and biomass in the natural sequence of watershed treatment.

Around 20,000 new wells in each state will be dug and 30,000 farm ponds constructed to store rain-water for providing irrigation as part of the package.

A part of the cost of the package will be met by converging resources from ongoing central programmes and schemes. To meet the gaps in availability of financial resources and provide a thrust to the drought mitigation package, an additional plan central assistance to the tune of Rs 3,450 crore will be provided to MP and UP over a period of three years beginning from 2009-10. The Cabinet also approved a proposal for re-inclusion of cotton seed as an essential commodity for a period of six months under the Essential Commodities Act or till the Seed Bill is passed by Parliament.

Now, the government would be empowered to regulate production, quality and distribution of cotton seed.

Courtesy: Timesofindia.indiatimes.com