UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to discuss water and drought issues with PM Modi

New Delhi: Amid a political slugfest between the Samajwadi Party and BJP over the water crisis in Uttar Pradesh, especially in drought-hit Bundelkhand region, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

"The chief minister will formally meet the prime minister here tomorrow (Saturday), where issues relating to governance and drought and water scarcity will figure," an informed source said here.

In Lucknow, the state government on Thursday accused the Centre of "playing politics" over drought and said nobody had requisitioned water from the union government as there was not much need.

The Samajwadi Party on Friday raised the issue of an empty water train reaching drought-hit Budelkhand, even as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien stressed that there should be no politics over water.

SP members also staged a walkout from the upper house on the issue.

UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. AFP

UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. AFP

Naresh Agrawal, raising the issue in the upper house, said: "The train that arrived was empty... it did not have water. Centre can help only when states seek help; we asked for money for making a dam in Bundelkhand."

He called for the resignation of the concerned central minister.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the centre is ready to extend all help, and the issue should not be politicised.

"If there is drought anywhere in the country, we all should be sensitive towards it. There is no need to do politics about that. There is a special package for Bundelkhand, it should be used properly. Centre is ready to provide more help," he said.

Kurien pointed out that no one should play politics over water.

"In the name of water and drought nobody should play politics. I would also request that this point may be talked, and settled," said Kurien.

In his explanation, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said that the train was supposed to be filled in Agra.

"We usually fill the tanker in the same state where water has to be supplied. That train was to be filled in Agra," said Prabhu.

He also said he had spoken to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday.

Agrawal however stressed that the state did not ask for a water train, but for tankers and money for digging tanks and constructing dams.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati said that the Centre and state should coordinate and help the people of Bundelkhand.

Nearly 50 districts are facing drought in Uttar Pradesh. In such a situation, the Centre and state government should rise above party politics and work together to solve the water crisis, Mayawati said.

"The state government maintains that the train sent was empty... We want to say that the government should have used whatever water was there in the train," she said.

Updated Date: May 07, 2016 11:31 AM

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