Uma Bharti, the Water Resource and River Rejuvenation Minister, told NDTV, "The focus of Centre's Bundelkhand strategy is going to be sharpened to deal with the water crisis and find a long term solution to the drought and poverty induced migration."
Ms Bharti said that to mitigate the crisis, the Niti Aayog has decided to revive the Bundelkhand package. But the package will be launched with a new spin - water revival and employment generation.
Ms Bharti held the first meeting with the lawmakers of 10 Bundelkhand districts from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to discuss the new strategy on Monday.
The Niti Aayog is likely to make a presentation to the minister next week. The basic agreement is that the Bundelkhand package will work to provide drinking water solutions. Once a strategy is worked out, the Centre will seek response from the state governments.
When asked why the thrust of the Bundelkhand package was changed, Uma Bharti said, "In the old package goats and bulls were distributed without any study or accountability. It never addressed the core of the crisis."
Speaking about a long term measure Ms Bharti said, "The solution is river linking. Not purely in terms of connecting rivers but creating a link between rivers which are in floods to the regions which are water starved."
The Centre is also working on a legislation to restrict the unregulated use of freshwater across the country. Uma Bharti said, "Water is a state issue so we will not do anything without consulting states or getting their nod. We are considering a legislation to fix the usage of fresh water. Surface, ground and rain water can't be used for everything," said Ms Bharti.
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