`Rajasthan sought backward status, but Centre denied`

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the government had requested the PM to accord `backward` status to Rajasthan in view of water scarcity in the desert state.

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said the government had requested the Prime Minister to accord `backward` status to Rajasthan in view of water scarcity in the desert state but the Centre had refused.

"Rajasthan has almost ten per cent of total area and five per cent of total population of the country but only one percent of total water (of the country).”

"In this view, the state government had (in the past) requested Prime Minister to accord Rajasthan `backward state` status but the Planning Commission said since there is no such policy so the status cannot be given," Gehlot said.
He was addressing the House during Question Hour when a BJP MLA had raised concern about water purification practices adopted by the state Public Health and Engineering department.

The chief minister informed the Assembly that the Centre was in principle ready to give priority to Rajasthan over the specific issue of water.

Gehlot said his government was focused on making purified potable water available to the common man and assured that he himself would ensure that people in the state get purified drinking water.

The chief minister said the practices and experiments which are going on at national and international level for water purification would be examined by the state government.

BJP MLA Rao Rajendra Singh had raised the issue of water purification, questioning the techniques being used for purification and quality of water following the use of chemicals in purification process.

He called on all members of the House to unite to ensure that people of the state get purified water supply.

State Water Resources Minister Jitendra Singh, before the intervention of the chief minister, said in his reply that the government follows the standard process set by the government of India for the purification of ground and surface water before supplying to public.

He also informed the House that the state government has taken several initiatives to ensure supply of purified water.