Centre’s no set to muddy waters in high-stakes Rajasthan river canal undertaking

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Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot authorities are as soon as once more at loggerheads, this time over the Japanese Rajasthan Canal Undertaking (ERCP). Shekhawat’s Jal Shakti Ministry has requested the state to cease the undertaking, with Gehlot accusing his BJP rival from the state of obstructing the identical.

The Jal Shakti Ministry observe to the Rajasthan authorities says that tasks underneath the ERCP should be placed on maintain until the “inter-state points are resolved and the undertaking is accorded approval by the advisory committee”. The letter to Rajasthan Chief Secretary Usha Sharma provides that the appraisal of the undertaking is held up as a result of objections by the co-basin state Madhya Pradesh, dominated by the BJP.

The Gehlot authorities has been attempting to undertaking the ERCP as its pet undertaking, and utilizing it to accuse the Narendra Modi authorities of step-motherly remedy in direction of Rajasthan.

The undertaking goals to switch surplus water from the Chambal river basin to Banas, Morel, Banganga, Kalisil, Gambhir and Parbati river sub-basins, in order to make sure ingesting water not less than as much as the 12 months 2051 in 13 Rajasthan districts and mitigate flood and drought conditions there.

The Gehlot authorities says the ERCP would additionally enhance agricultural yields, thereby enhancing the usual of residing.

The Congress, which is underneath growing strain from the BJP forward of subsequent 12 months’s state elections, hopes that advantages from the undertaking will assist it make beneficial properties within the 13 districts, which account for 83 Meeting seats – a considerable chunk of the state’s 200 constituencies.

It was the sooner Vasundhara Raje authorities that had first submitted an in depth report back to the Central Water Fee on the undertaking in 2017. A serious catch was the price — now estimated at Rs 37,247 crore – prompting the state to demand that it’s declared a Nationwide Undertaking, in order that the Centre would tackle a lot of the tab.

Within the run-up to the 2018 Meeting elections, whereas talking in Jaipur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised a “optimistic” strategy by the Centre in direction of the state’s demand.

Nevertheless, because the Congress assumed energy in Rajasthan and Gehlot turned the CM, there was little progress on the ERCP. The CM has persistently sought that the Centre make it a Nationwide Undertaking. He claims to have written over 15 letters to the Centre, together with to the PM, with a response uncommon.

The 13 districts that the undertaking covers can roughly be divided into japanese (8) and eastern-most (5). The primary class consists of Alwar, Jaipur, Ajmer, Baran, Kota, Bundi, Tonk and Jhalawar, which account for 59 Meeting seats, which had been nearly evenly divided between the 2 events in 2018. Whereas 29 had been gained by the Congress, 24 went to the BJP and 6 to Independents, all of whom have been supporting the Congress authorities.

It’s within the 5 easternmost districts — Bharatpur, Sawai Madhopur, Dholpur, Karauli and Dausa – that the Congress trounced the BJP. Of the 24 seats from right here, the BJP gained only one final time. The MLA, Shobharani Kushwah, was just lately expelled from the occasion following her ‘rebel’ throughout the Rajya Sabha polls in June, when she cross-voted for Congress candidate Pramod Tiwari.

The Congress had gained 20 seats in 2018, whereas one had gone to the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and two to Independents. RLD MLA Subhash Garg is a minister within the Gehlot authorities, whereas each the Independents help the Congress.

Gehlot has contrasted the delay over the ERCP with the Centre approving the Ken Betwa river linking undertaking, which can profit 13 districts in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. In December 2021, the Union Cupboard chaired by PM Modi had authorized funding for implementing the interlinking of Ken and Betwa rivers at a complete price of Rs 44,605 crore, and likewise authorized Central help of Rs 39,317 crore, or nearly 90 per cent of the price.

Indicating his frustration with the Centre, even because the Meeting elections draw close to, Gehlot, in his funds this 12 months, introduced that the state would proceed the ERCP work with its personal assets, a part of which incorporates works costing Rs 9,600 crore.

Contemplating the “humongous job”, the state stated it could create a Particular Function Car (SPV), to “generate additional budgetary income sources”.

In April this 12 months, Rajasthan’s Public Well being Engineering Division Minister Mahesh Joshi had a public spat with Shekhawat over the ERCP at a regional convention of states and Union Territories on the Jal Jeevan Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission.

Later, the Congress had hit the roads in opposition to Shekhawat within the 13 districts which might fall underneath the ERCP.

The ERCP spat is simply one of many many points on which there was long-running animosity between Gehlot-Joshi and Shekhawat. Gehlot has accused Shekhawat of being concerned within the in-house rebel led by Sachin Pilot in opposition to his authorities in 2020.

Joshi, additionally the Congress whip, had filed a case naming Shekhawat and others for allegedly scheming to topple the Gehlot authorities. Shekhawat had filed a counter case in New Delhi in opposition to Gehlot’s OSD Lokesh Sharma and others for allegedly tapping telephones.

Regionally too, the ERCP situation has been gaining momentum. For the previous a number of months, Vikram Singh Meena, incumbent state president of BKU (Yuva Morcha) and former nationwide secretary of the Congress’s NSUI, has centered on the ERCP situation in his protests.



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