Criticising the Central Government’s order to stop work on the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) in Rajasthan and the ‘ unfortunate attitude’ of Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot annoyingly said he would ask the Prime Minister why he (PM) keeps an ‘absent-minded and Nikkame Mantri’ like Shekhawat who did not hear his speech on the ERCP.
” A letter has been written by the secretary of the Jal Shakti Ministry to the Chief Secretary of Rajasthan that work should not be carried out in any part related to ERCP by the State Government. It has been written to stop the work stating the reason of the lack of consent on interstate issues”, Gehlot told a high-level meeting with all elected representatives of 13 districts at his residence last evening.
Recalling PM’s assurance to the public to start ERCP in Rajasthan if voted to LS in 2018, Gehlot said whenever reminded to Jal Shakti Minister to recommend and the get the status of National Project to ERCP, the Minister reportedly said he (Shekhawat) did not hear him (PM).
“Jal Shakti Minister was himself there in the meeting, it means he was sitting absent-mindedly. This is not good. I will ask the PM why he keeps such Nikkame Mantri (useless minister) who sits absent-minded as he (Shekhawat) himself said ‘Suna hi nahin tha”, as Gehlot repeated this over one hundred elected participants clapped and laughed,
On persistent demand of the Congress government, Shekhawat had publicly challenged Gehlot, “PM had not mentioned a word on ERCP in his Ajmer rally in 2018, if it is proved, he would take ‘Sanyas’ (renunciation) from politics, or you (CM) quit ?” As the political ball bounced back with live video clips of the PM’s speeches by CMO, the Jal Shakti Minister left red-faced and could not defend himself further nor did he take Sanyas.
Gehlot said, ‘Now the Jal Shakti Minister has issued the letter to Rajasthan not to carry further the work on ERCP. It is ridiculous but CM will continue to work with our resources”, CM claimed.
In his one-hour speech CM said, “ERCP is an ambitious project with the estimated cost of Rs.37200 cr, and if it is stopped, the price would escalate as faced in the Rajasthan Refinery works during previous Raje government. This will fulfill the requirement of drinking water in 13 districts and will augment irrigation facilities in over 2 lakh hectares. The Central Government should give this project the status of national importance on the basis of the ratio of 90:10. ERCP can be completed in 10 years on getting national status and this would solve the drinking water problem of 40% of the population”.
Gehlot warned, “According to the constitution, water is a state subject. Till now, money is being spent by the state on this project, and water being used is also from the part of Rajasthan, then how can the Central Government ask the state to stop the work of the project? The Centre is adopting a discriminatory attitude towards Rajasthan and is trying to deprive people of the state of drinking water and farmers of water for irrigation purposes.
Jal Shakti Minister’s attitude is unfortunate”.
In his Tweet immediately, Shekhawat reacted, “Gahalot jee kee jubaan mein mere lie to bura hee bura hai. har baar lagata hai ve isase bura na kahenge lekin agalee baar pahale se jyaada bura kah jaate hain. vish vaman ise hee kahate hai (In Gehlot ji’s tongue, there is only bad for me. Every time it seems they will not say worse than this but next time they say worse than before. This is what is called poison vomit)”.