'No Takers for Delhi Villages Under MP Model Village Scheme'

New Delhi
'No Takers for Delhi Villages Under MP Model Village Scheme'

No village from Delhi has been adopted under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said today in remarks that raised question marks over the announcement of adoption of villages by at least three BJP MPs.

However, one of the ruling party MPs -- Ramesh Bidhuri, who had adopted Bhatti Mines village under the scheme in October last year, expressed surprise at the minister's remarks saying he has indeed adopted the village and work is already going on there.

"No Delhi MP has adopted any village under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana so far. We do not have any such communication to say that any Delhi MP has adopted any village," Singh told reporters at a press conference here after a review meeting of the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.

He was replying to a question as to whether it was true that no village has been adopted under the scheme in Delhi because MPs are finding it difficult to find rural villages in their constituency.

Under the scheme only rural villages can be adopted and not the urban ones.

Interestingly, BJP MPs Meenakshi Lekhi, Ramesh Bidhuri and Mahesh Giri had adopted one village each -- Pilanji, Bhaati Mines and Chilla respectively -- under the scheme between September and November last year.

When asked if it was true that most of Delhi MPs cannot adopt the scheme as their constituencies do not have villages, the minister said that he has given such MPs a list of villages in Delhi, which can be adopted but since they fall outside their constituencies, they do not want to do it.

He parried direct answers as to whether such a problem calls for a change as there is a fault in the design of the scheme.

When contacted, Bidhuri said, "I have adopted Bhati village under the scheme declared by the PM from Red Fort. I don't know what the minister is talking about. Thirty per cent work has been already completed here. 

Lekhi, who is MP from New Delhi, said the problem was that her constituency has no rural village.

She said that since Pilanji does not have a gram sabha and does not fufill the criteria for the scheme, she will now adopt Qutab Garh village of outer Delhi.

The MP, however, said that she is committed to develop other urban villages of her constituency as well.

"I have urbanised villages in my constituency and many of them are really in a bad shape. The Ministry's scheme requires a village to have gram panchayats but we have Resident Welfare Associations here.

"I did not want to go beyond those areas since I have my own constraints. I did not move on purpose since I want to develop these areas. Although I don't mind working elsewhere so I would be adopting Qutab Garh village of outer Delhi," she said.

Lekhi had in first week of September last year adopted Old Pilanji village in her constituency to develop it as a model village under the scheme.

"Following the appeal of PM Modi during Independence Day address, I have today adopted Old Pilanji village to develop it as a model village," Lekhi had then said.

A statement issued by the Delhi government in October last year had said South Delhi MP Bidhuri approached the state for developing Bhatti Mines village as a model village under the 'Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana'.

Adopting the Chilla village in November last year, East Delhi MP Giri had said, "I want to start development from Chilla that I have chosen for the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (Model village project)."

During his Independence Day speech at Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the scheme under which MPs were asked to develop one model village each in their constituencies.

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