Hyderabad: In yet another attempt, the Telangana government requested the Centre to reimburse at least 50 per cent of about Rs 45,000 crore funds spent on Mission Bhagiratha in the State. It also sought the Centre to expedite release of pending funds promised for various development programmes in rural areas.
Participating in a conference chaired by Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on rural drinking water supply and Swachh Bharat programmes, Panchayat Raj Minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao on Tuesday said the State government had taken up Mission Bhagiratha to ensure drinking water to every household with an expenditure of Rs 45,000 crore. The Ministers and officials from several States and also the Union government had appreciated the unique initiative, but there had been no response from the Centre for bearing at least 50 per cent cost of the project, he said.
“We could ensure that people rural areas have access to drinking water even during summer. The State government obtained loans to implement the project, which has become a burden on its exchequer, and the Centre must encourage such initiatives by sharing the expenditure. If our plea for bearing the project expenditure cannot be honoured, the Centre should at least bear operational costs amounting to Rs 2,000 crore per annum,” he requested.
The Centre aims at providing clean drinking water to all by 2024 and is formulating a plan to provide the same to nearly 14 crore households as per its electoral promise.
Meanwhile, Dayakar Rao also called on Union Minister for Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar and submitted a representation on behalf of the State government to sanction funds for various ongoing schemes. He urged the Centre to consider the proposal for linking MGNREGS with agriculture and also sanction Rs 760 crore towards material component under the scheme. The issues pertaining to funds for construction and repairs of panchayat buildings and equipment, besides infrastructure development, including the construction of Anganwadi buildings, graveyards, roads and other works were also raised.
Dayakar Rao explained about various development works taken up by the State government, seeking Rs 119.28 crore towards performance grant and also another grant Rs 135.46 crore under 14th Finance Commission. He sought more rural cluster units under Antyodaya Mission as the State had about 40 per cent SC and ST population benefiting from the scheme.