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Polls a year away, Hooda turns on rural water sops
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
With parliamentary and state Assembly elections due next year, the Hooda Government has decided to provide free water connection to all rural households.

The decision to waive the water connection fee of Rs 500 till March 31, 2014, comes a few days ahead of the government’s decision to launch UPA’s flagship food security ordinance covering nearly 1.31 crore beneficiaries (more than half of Haryana’s population) from August 20.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said here today that the decision to provide free water connections would give a boost to the conservation campaign being implemented in the state. “During the water conservation campaign launched from December 2012 to January 2013, about 1,35,587 connections were sanctioned in rural areas of the state reflecting tremendous response from the people to take water connections,” he added.

Sources, however, claimed that the decision was taken with an eye on the elections. “Such people-oriented decisions act as an antidote to the anti-incumbency in the elections particularly against the backdrop of factionalism in the state unit of the Congress and allegations of skewed development in the state,” a senior government functionary told The Tribune.

Under the Indira Gandhi Drinking Water Scheme launched in November 2006 to provide private water connections to 100 per cent households, 10.36 lakh households of Scheduled Castes in the rural and urban areas are being provided connections free of cost. Besides, a 50 per cent concession on water charges is being given to the Scheduled Castes households. Haryana had introduced the Water Conservation Policy in 2012 to encourage people to take private water connections.

Since January this year, the Hooda Government has been in an election mode with a slew of decisions being taken to consolidate the vote bank.

Populist measures

  • Special quota for Jats, 4 other castes and forward castes
  • Subsidised food for the state’s 52 per cent population; 2.5 kg dal per BPL family per month
  • Rajiv Awas Yojana ‘relaunched’ in a new avatar to provide subsidised housing to urban poor
  • Five power tariff hikes for consumers since last year, but none for farm sector





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