New Delhi: The Samajwadi Party on Friday raised the issue of an empty water train reaching drought-hit Budelkhand, even as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien stressed that there should be no politics over water.
Naresh Agrawal, raising the issue in the upper house, said: "The train that arrived was empty... it did not have water. Center can help only when states seek help; we asked for money for making a dam in Bundelkhand."
He called for the resignation of the concerned central minister.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the center is ready to extend all help, and the issue should not be politicised.
"If there is drought anywhere in the country, we all should be sensitive towards it. There is no need to do politics about that. There is a special package for Bundelkhand, it should be used properly. Center is ready to provide more help," he said.
Kurien pointed out that no one should play politics over water.
"In the name of water and drought nobody should play politics. I would also request that this point may be talked, and settled," said Kurien.
In his explanation, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said that the train was supposed to be filled in Agra.
"We usually fill the tanker in the same state where water has to be supplied. That train was to be filled in Agra," said Prabhu.
He also said he had spoken to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday.
Agrawal however stressed that the state did not ask for a water train, but for tankers and money for digging tanks and constructing dams.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati said that the Center and state should coordinate and help the people of Bundelkhand.
"Nearly 50 districts are facing drought in Uttar Pradesh. In such a situation, the Center and state government should rise above party politics and work together to solve the water crisis," Mayawati said.
"The state government maintains that the train sent was empty... We want to say that the government should have used whatever water was there in the train," she said.