Both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments have opposed the Centre’s move to set up a unified authority for development of Bundelkhand, while seeking special grant for one of the most drought-prone regions of India spread across the two states.
UP Chief Minister Mayawati sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, calling the move to set up the authority against the provisions of the Constitution. Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, too, expressed similar sentiments in his letter to the PM.
A delegation of Congress MPs from Bundelkhand led by party general secretary Rahul Gandhi had on Tuesday met the PM, demanding setting up of a ‘Unified Agency for Development of Bundelkhand’ with a package of Rs 8,000 crore for the region’s development.
On the directive of the PMO, the plan panel on Thursday initiated the process to formulate development priorities for Bundelkhand in consultation with ministries of power, water and rural development.
“We have decided to submit two reports on short-term and long-term priorities for region,” said B.K. Chaturvedi, panel’s member in-charge of UP. He, however, said the PM would decide on the framework of the authority, if constituted.
Union Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain Aditya said the Centre was aware of the rights and duties vis-à-vis the state government.
“It will be set up under the provisions of the Constitution,” said Jain, adding the process to constitute the agency was in the final stages.
The Centre had last year constituted the Ganga River Authority, an inter-state body, to save the sacred river.