Doling out a special package to Bundelkhand will not help achieve development goals of this drought-hit region, unless there is a committed approach at the ground level to erase its backwardness, feel social scientists and bureaucrats.

Bundelkhand, which is politically crucial for both the Congress and BSP, came into limelight after the Centre recently allocated a package of Rs. 7,266 crore for development of the region in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, out of which Rs. 3,760 crore would be spent in six districts of MP.

“The goal of development will not be achieved unless delivery at the ground level is ensured through committed persons. It is not that the region had not received funds earlier. The need of the hour is to have a committed team which thinks for it and is willing to spend the entire money on the area,” Professor of Sociology in Dr. Hari Singh Gour Central University, Sagar, Dr. Shrinath Sharma told PTI.

A senior IAS officer from Jhansi, Sanjay Dube, is also of the view that mere money will not ensure development.

“Had it been the case, then countries like Afghanistan receiving huge funds through United Nations, or States like Jammu and Kashmir or naxal-affected areas would have become prosperous by now,” he pointed out.

“We should have a team of responsible and accountable persons entrusted with the task of ensuring development on the ground level,” Mr. Dube, who had won an award of excellence for development in Madhya Pradesh, said.

“There are models available within the government which have delivered - like forming an empowered committee and appointing a nodal officer to coordinate with multiple departments involved in the development process for implementing the decisions at a fast pace,” he said.

Bhupendra Singh, BJP MP from Sagar, however, accused the Centre of “politics in the name of Bundelkhand” and said that funds provided to the parched region under NREGA and other development schemes were re-christened ‘special package’

“It is an attempt to regain lost political ground by the Congress in Bundelkhand region as it has 38 seats in Uttar Pradesh Assembly and 26 in Madhya Pradesh and in these constituencies it has virtually no presence,” he said.

“Congress is responsible for the backwardness of Bundelkhand region as they have been in power for the last 50 years,” the MP said, adding that real development will take place only with establishment of large industries in the region.

The six Bundelkhandi districts of MP which stand to be benefitted after Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi toured the region and decided to be at the core of the initiatives taken for the development of this region, are: Datia, Damoh, Chhattarpur, Panna, Tikamgarh and Sagar.