Madhya Pradesh Government Set to Spend Big to Ensure Modi's Narmada Visit is a 'Success'

Officials of various districts have sought lakhs of rupees to ferry people to and from the conclusion ceremony of Narmada Yatra in Amarkantak.

New Delhi: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to unveil a roadmap for the conservation of river Narmada today (May 15) and “make a major impact” on Madhya Pradesh’s ecology, it is the tax payers who will have to bear the burden of ensuring that the event is a success.

The state government is going all out to draw a substantial crowd to the conclusion ceremony of Narmada Yatra in Amarkantak – the campaign to save the river, which began in December – setting targets for every district, and for which the district collectors and concerned officials have sought funds from the government to ferry people to and from Amarkantak.

According to official documents, a copy of which is with The Wire, the Singrauli collector has written to the additional chief secretary (planning, economics and statistics) seeking over Rs 85 lakhs to meet the cost of permit for 200 buses, diesel and bus fare required to transport the crowd. According to a report in the Free Press Journal, the CEO of Rewa district panchayat has sought Rs 68 lakh and DTO of Ashoknagar has requested Rs 20 lakh for similar purposes.

The report further states that besides the transportation cost, the panchayats and rural development department of the government has allocated substantial funds for buying towels and t-shirts for the participants. While the responsibility of mobilising the crowd for the function has fallen on different departments, it is the the urban development and planning departments that will be spending the funds from the state exchequer.

Namami Devi Narmade Sewa Yatra, the campaign to save river Narmada, which began on December 11, will conclude after covering a distance of more than 3,000 km and covering over 1,100 villages and towns, DNA reported.

According to Indian Express, officials claim that so far 24 lakh people have attended 1,000-plus programmes held as part of the campaign which the opposition Congress has dismissed as a “political yatra.” It has also alleged misuse of funds by the state government to make the Modi’s visit a success.

(With PTI inputs)