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‘Won’t stop ERPC project’: Raj CM strikes a defiant note

In response to Union Jal Shakti Ministry’s order to stop work on Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project, Ashok Gehlot said, “water is a state issue.”

SNS | Jaipur |

Challenging the Central government’s order to stop work on Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP), Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, on Wednesday, asserted that his government won’t shut the project as ‘water is a state issue’. He challenged the centre’s capacity to issue such a ban order.

Recently, the Jal Shakti Ministry wrote to the Chief Secretary of Rajasthan that work should not be carried out in any part related to ERCP. The ministry asked the state government to stop the work citing “lack of consent on interstate issues”. Gehlot said this while addressing hundreds of elected public representatives, MLAs and ministers at a conclave here on Wednesday.

He said his government had made a budgetary provision of Rs.9,600 crore for the project despite dire circumstances arising from corona epidemic. In a federal system, it is the duty of the Centre to work in tandem with the state governments.

Gehlot reminded the PM of his assurance to the public during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections that he would start ERCP in Rajasthan if voted to power.

“ERCP is an ambitious project with an estimated cost of Rs.37,200 crore, and if it is stopped now, the project would meet the same fate as Rajasthan refinery works of the previous Vasundhara Raje government. The project is aimed to fulfill the requirement of drinking water of 13 districts and will augment irrigation facilities in over 2 lakh hectares”.