Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is hell-bent on making the East Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) planned to quench the thirst of 13 districts of the state a ‘national project’.
Prior to the Union Budget, the chief minister had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make it a national project so that the entire project becomes a project of national importance. This would enable the state to get central funding as well.
The chief minister has written half a dozen letters to the prime minister on the importance of the project for the state and its people. But each time, the central government returned the file raising some or other objections.
Gehlot raised this key issue again during a presentation to the Niti Aayog. Gehlot stressed that the Centre has given its approval to the feasibility report and now this Rs 37,247 crore project has to be accepted as a national project for initiating work.
Earlier, the Indira Gandhi canal was taken up as a national project that has solved the drinking water problems of the areas under northern and western Rajasthan.
Project to benefit 13 districts of Rajasthan
The ERCP project would benefit 13 districts that would get water for drinking, irrigational and industrial purposes. The districts to be benefitted would be Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Sawaimadhopur, Dausa, Jaipur, Ajmer, Tonk, Bundi, Kota, Baran and Jhalawar.
But it seems the Union government is not keen to clear the project for political reasons. The BJP led NDA government leaders feel that if the project is granted it would politically benefit Congress and it would use the project as a political achievement that may dampen the political prospects of the BJP in the next Vidhan Sabha elections.
Public health engineering minister BD Kalla said that the Centre should decide in favour of the project as it would provide both drinking and irrigational water to the state. This would aid agricultural production and also provide drinking water to the people.
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