to rope in Magsaysay winner
DELHI, OCTOBER 31: MAGSAYSAY winner Rajendra Singh provided
water in 600 villages through 4,500 structures with just Rs
4.45 crore. Inspired, Rural Development Minister Venkaiah
Naidu, who has vowed to get water for all by 2010 with his
sector reforms programme at Rs 1,000 crore, has now decided
to take a leaf from Singh’s book.
made the beginning on Wednesday when he felicitated Singh
and announced the intention of setting up a national advisory
panel which would guide the ministry in its ‘‘water for all’’
it goes to Singh’s credit that despite the tough time he admitted
to be having with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu
Naidu, who is also seeking his advice, he is looking forward
to playing any role Venkaiah may find for him.
am fighting with the Andhra Pradesh government officials including
Chandrababu Naidu almost all the time. It leaves a very bad
taste in your mouth. But it is not all in vain,’’ says Singh
of his advisory role in Andhra Pradesh. ‘‘I am achieving a
lot despite the differences of opinion,’’ he said.
the Union Minister, he is as hopeful though he does not agree
with his methods for achieving water sufficiency. On the ministry’s
favourite ‘‘sector reform’’ programme, which disseminates
funds through zila panchayats, he said the funds never went
to water supply. ‘‘The officials ate the money or diverted
it to road building,’’ he said.
do not know which sea swallows the crores of rupees the Government
invests in various schemes,’’ said Singh. ‘‘What good are
roads when there is no water to irrigate your fields and when
you are forced to migrate to cities to live on the streets
said in 600 villages where he had worked, people who wanted
water projects had to fight with panchayat heads for money.
‘‘The problem with check dams is that these can be destroyed
in rain if it not constructed properly,’’ said Singh.
of the ministry’s sector reform programme, he said the total
amount he and his men spent in nearly two decades setting
up 4,500 projects was Rs 4.45 crore. ‘‘The main thing is not
money but the will to understand the need of each community,’’