Since independence, Bundelkhand has been among the most ignored areas of the country. Given the difficult terrain and successive drought, the people of the region are forced to migrate. The people of the region were promised the sun and the moon by the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in the last few decades, and on the trust of these promises, the people even voted for these parties, but the socio-economic reality of the region remained the same.
When the Yogi government came to power, it decided to prepare a comprehensive infrastructure-driven plan for the development of the region. A few days ago, Yogi Aditynath was on a two-day visit to the region and inaugurated projects worth more than 2,000 crore rupees. “The youth will not have to migrate from Bundelkhad to get jobs. The land of Bundelkhand will produce gold… agriculture will make people self-reliant,” said Yogi while addressing a public meeting after launching projects worth a 1000 crore in Chitrakoot division on the second day of his visit to Bundelkhand.
Last year in March, Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone of the 296 km long Bundelkhand Expressway and made it clear that it will prove to be the development expressway of the region.
The Expressway will pass through Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur and Jalaun districts of the region. This Expressway will be a game-changer for the region in the sense that it will link Bundelkhand to the National Capital, Delhi through the Agra-Lucknow Expressway and further through the Yamuna Expressway.
Laying the foundation stone for this ambitious project, PM Modi said, “This project will take Bundelkhand on the path of development, it will prove to be the development expressway of the region and definitely change peoples lives in this entire region.”
Highlighting the failure of the previous government to deliver to the region, PM added, “You must have seen in the past decades how in the name of Bundelkhand and farmers, packages worth thousands of crores of rupees were announced but farmers did not benefit.”
Not just the highway, but the Yogi government is investing 3,700 crore rupees in the creation of the UP Defense Corridor in the region.
Spread over 70,000 sq. km across 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the region is infamous as the worst place in India to be a farmer.
Things have slid down further in the last two decades. From 2003 to 2010, there was a wave of droughts in the region pulverizing its farm sector. It was further hit by floods in 2011, deficient and late monsoon in 2012 and 2013, and finally another drought in the year 2014. For a region that has always been known for its backwardness and poverty, this wave of droughts had a blighting effect. Droughts remain a major issue in the region with several areas receiving less than 750 mm rainfall.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that in terms of human development also, the region lags behind the rest of the state. The poorest of districts are located here with a mean asset index lower than any other region in Uttar Pradesh.
The Expressway might change the face of the region, especially by ensuring quick and seamless connectivity to other, more prosperous regions in Uttar Pradesh and also the National Capital by connecting the region to other Expressways in Uttar Pradesh that further lead up to Delhi.
This new era of connectivity will create a bundle of economic opportunities, especially in the transportation sector apart from the thousands of jobs that the development of the Expressway will by itself create. The projects like Defense corridor would also create a lot of jobs.
Moreover, the welfare schemes of the Union government like Har Ghar Jal, under which the government is preparing water infrastructure to provide tap water to every household, are beneficial to the regions like Bundelkhand and Vidarbha where round the clock access to clean drinking water is a major problem.
These welfare and job creation projects would ensure BJP’s victory in all seats of the 13 districts of the region. In the last assembly election and the last two general elections, BJP has performed excellently in the region. According to the most conservative estimates which define the Bundelkhand region the BJP won all 4 LS seats and will repeat the success in the next assembly election too.