Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday dedicated the ₹2,655-crore Arjun Sahayak project to the people of Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand, saying it would end the water woes of farmers in the parched region while accusing the previous state government and other “family-owned” parties of looting the region, its people and resources.
“This project will benefit lakhs of farmers. They will get the water they have been waiting for generations in Bundelkhand,” Modi said, while addressing the farmers, hours after making the announcement to repeal the Centre’s three contentious farm laws.
Arjun Sahayak is a flagship project of the Uttar Pradesh government, aimed at providing water for drinking and irrigation in Mahoba district.
“I discussed this crucial project with the then government several times in 2014. They did not show any interest. It was the lifeline of this region,” he said, adding that the work on the project began under the Yogi Adityanath government in 2017 and was completed in record time.
Accusing the previous state government of corruption, Modi said, “Those who kept cutting ribbons in the name of Bundelkhand’s ponds and water bodies for farmers did not allow a single penny to reach them.”
“I want to ask those parties, which ruled UP and Delhi, how this naturally gifted region became synonymous with struggles for water to an extent the people did not want to marry off their daughters in this region?” he asked.
“They worked for their families, there was corruption and commission, and you (farmers) remained desperate for a single drop of water,” the PM said, alleging that the previous governments handed the region over to the mafia.
“Now when the bulldozer is being used against mafia, some people are raising hue and cry. But whatever they may try to do, the development UP and Bundelkhand will not stop,” Modi said.
Uttar Pradesh will go to assembly polls early next year.
Stating that many water-related projects were underway in the state, Modi said the Yogi Adityanath-led state government found the solution for the Ken-Betwa link in consultation with the stakeholders. The linking would help lakhs of farmers in the days to come, he added.
Modi said the challenges were similar to those in Gujarat’s Sardar Sarovar dam project, which has helped in water reaching even the arid areas of Kutch.
“I am from Gujarat and I understand your issues. We will replicate the success of Gujarat in Bundelkhand,” Modi said.
The PM said his government has taken a number of steps for the welfare of farmers, including providing neem-coated urea, high-yield seeds with low use of water and made record purchase of crops and increased minimum support price.
Calling top BJP leaders and government “kainchi-jeevi (those who live for cutting ribbons)”, Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav yet again attack BJP governments at the state and the centre over “taking credit for SP government’s projects” and this time it’s over inauguration of Arjun Sahayak irrigation project.
Akhilesh in a tweet in Hindi said: “The project that had reached 99% completion in SP government’s time, the BJP government took five years to complete it. But they ran in to take credit for it…”.
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