Lucknow: The ongoing tussle between the UPA and the BSP government over allocation of financial aid to Bundelkhand might have catapulted the region to limelight but this has failed to benefit its cause leaving the region crying for even basic amenities.

When the BSP took over Uttar Pradesh in 2007, village ‘Patha’ had become the state’s concern owing to the number of starvation deaths in the region. On the other side, ‘Paduvi’ village witnessed many suicides committed by debt-ridden farmers.

Following these mis-happenings, Chief Minister Mayawati made it clear to the officials in her first Cabinet meeting that in case of any more deaths due to starvation, the District Magistrates of the region will be held accountable.

Albeit no report of any starvation death from then has been heard, the barren land in Bundelkhand has failed to yield any improvement despite all round efforts. Rather, the region is sinking in the arms of regress.

In her first meeting with the administrative officials, Mayawati had instructed them to gather maximum financial aid for Bundelkhand region. But the conflict between the state and the Centre made this impossible.

The Central government had allotted a special package of Rs 7266 crore to the state out of which Rs 3506 crore was meant for Bundelkhand region. However, the state government failed to utilize the granted aid for the region.

The Mayawati government contended that the Centre released the package in the last month of the financial year due to which they were unable to utilize the fund.

This inability cost the region dearly as the financial aid allocated for small irrigation projects and other irrigation schemes was left untouched.

In this blame game, the victim has been ‘Patha’ village which witnessed a three metre fall in the water-level in the year 2010. According to the villagers, farmers are not even able to meet the cost of their produced crops for past seven years.

The villages of Banda, Chitrakoot and Mohaba districts have been facing similar crisis. The main reason behind this is the lack of proper irrigation facilities in these districts.

The water-level in dams has been receding in Banda district, whereas ponds are drying up one after another in ‘Patha’ region where more than one-third hand pumps have dried up.

Mayawati had sought a package of Rs 80,000 crore from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh out of which Rs 11,000 crore was supposed to be spent on Bundelkhand region alone. But the demand went unheeded.

Meanwhile, the state government holds the Centre responsible for the current state of affairs in Bundelkhand.
According to the state government, the Centre had promised to allocate Rs 3500 crore in three years but in reality it provided only Rs 1600 crore while the rest of the amount will be made available from the Centre’s previous ongoing schemes.