Lucknow: A water train sent by the Centre to Bundelkhand, a part of Uttar Pradesh severely affected by drought and water crisis, had been refused by the state.
“We have no Latur-like problem here,” the state’s Akhilesh Yadav government has reportedly said in a letter to the railway ministry, referring to the district in Maharashtra where, to tackle a severe crisis, two water trains were sent.
The UP government also said in its letter: “If we need water, then we will inform the railways.” The terse letter reflects a battle for credit in the state, which will vote for a new government next year.
The water train was intended for the Mahoba area of Bundelkhand, where around 40 villages are facing a crippling shortage of water. Half the hand-pumps have dried up due to the receding water levels.
The administration has arranged for water to be drawn from government tubewells and sent to these villages in tankers. Officials say a water train would be no different, as tankers would have to travel long distances from the railway station to these villages.
“The railway authorities told us they were sending a water train without even asking for our requirement,” an official told. The ruling Samajwadi Party accuses local BJP leaders of asking the Centre for a water train in a desperate attempt to snatch credit from Akhilesh Yadav’s government, which has distributed relief packets in the region.
Amid the escalating water crisis, the Centre recently held a meeting with lawmakers of Bundelkhand.”The focus of Centre’s Bundelkhand strategy is going to be sharpened to deal with the water crisis and find a long term solution to the drought and poverty induced migration,” Uma Bharti, the Water Resource and River Rejuvenation Minister, told NDTV last month.