Rajasthan has sought special status in terms of drinking water supply while pointing out that the desert State needs Rs.50,000 crore for supply of clean and safe potable water to the remote areas, including Rs.20,000 crore for the projects presently underway.

State Industries Minister Rajendra Pareek put forth the demand at a pre-Budget consultation with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi over the week-end. He said 92 per cent of the water supply schemes in the State were based on surface water, while water tankers had to be sent regularly to various areas.

According to an official release here, Mr. Pareek said the Central allocation for water sector to the State had reduced by Rs.500 crore due to new guidelines under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme coming into force. This had adversely affected the schemes presently being operated, he added.

The Minister demanded a special status to Rajasthan in terms of drinking water supply while calling for a review of the new guidelines in view of difficult geography of the State.

Mr. Pareek also said the financial condition of public sector power companies in the State was deteriorating and sought authorisation for issuing power bonds to the extent of liabilities as well as announcement of a special Central package for them.

The release stated that Mr. Pareek sought the inclusion of all towns with a population of 5 lakh in the State in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and extension of more facilities to the desert areas where the pace of industrial growth and investment was slow.