Bundelhand continues to be a major bone of contention between the Congress-led UPA at the Centre and the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh.

State-run NTPC will invest about Rs 20,000 crore to set up a 3,960-megawatt (Mw) coal-based power project in Madhya Pradesh.

To her many critics who accused Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for wasting public money on building her own statues, she has a stock answer: "The Government spent 99 per cent of funds on development and only one per cent on construction of statues." To support her claim she even made the utilisation of development funds public, becoming the first chief minister in the country to do so.

Congress MLA from Banda and UP Congress Media Cell chief, Vivek Singh on Tuesday, accused chief minister Mayawati of creating hurdles in the development of Bundelkhand. He alleged that the proposed 4000 megawatt power plant, which was sanctioned by the Prime Minister was not coming up in the state just because of the rigidity of Mayawati.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today demanded a Rs 24,000 crore package from the Centre for development of the Bundelkhand region and also called for speedy approval of power sector proposals for funding through external agencies.

Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI: The Union government is understood to have firmed up a proposal to set up a 4,000 MW thermal power plant in Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh.

The move comes close on the heels of a demand by All India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi that a major developmental package be given for the drought-hit and poverty hit region.

Within two months of Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and demanding a development package for the Bundelkhand region, the Planning Commission has firmed up a proposal to set up a 4,000-Mw power plant there.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi

Problems of the drought-affected people in Madhya Pradesh remain as before. Due to scanty rainfall in Gwalior-Chambal division as also in Bundelkhand, the irrigation was not adequate and hence a good harvest is unlikely. On Monday the question of crippling drought situation in Gwalior-Chambal division figured in the assembly. The Opposition alleged that the state government had been a failure in solving the problems of the drought-affected people and walked out from the House. They charged the govt with making big promises to the suffering people but not fulfilling those promises. Instead, to divert the attention of the people, the state government was making excuses and blaming the Central government for the ills. The government was being partial in doling out relief amount to some selected people, the members charged. The government's attention was drawn towards the drying of crops in hundreds of villages under Bhander canal system, Rajghat project in Bhind district. Water Resources Minister clarified that the Rajghat Canal Project is under Uttar Pradesh. As the dam is in MP, so our state has put pressure on the UP government to give authority for its maintenance. Soon a high-level meeting on this issue is going to be held. The opposition should cooperate with the state government in the interest of the state. Indeed, the farmers facing hardships need relief and other government help. They have nothing to do with the politics being played inside or outside the Assembly. Even they are facing the problem of drinking water. They are already facing the problem of their livelihood but their future is also dark. Keeping aside petty political interests, the parties need to come out with ways to help the farmers.

One Bundelkhand village uses water retention techniques to achieve a good crop in spite of 4 years of drought, with a little help from NGO Parmarth. Uttar Pradesh's Bundelkhand region has been devastated by drought and other adverse weather conditions over the past four years. Madhaiya Anghela village in Madhogarh sub-division of Jalaun district exhibits the typical symptoms. Villagers say the kharif crop this year is only 20 per cent of the normal years. The prospects for the rabi crop are very dim