PM's special package for Bihar, 'mere repackaging': Nitish Kumar

Narendra Modi recently announced 1.08 lakh crore for Bihar

Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said at least Rs 1.08 lakh crore or 87 per cent of the special package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi "with an intent to win Bihar elections" was a "mere repackaging of old schemes".

"At the best, the so called Rs 1.25 lakh crore package will not provide anything more than Rs 10,368 crore as additional or incremental resource to the state. This too in the absence of a defined timeline or disbursement modalities hardly means anything to the state," the Chief Minister told reporters in the presence of state Finance Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav.

"A close look reveals that against the much hyped claim of Rs 1.25 lakh crore, 87 per cent of the so called special package worth projects is nothing but a mere repackaging of old schemes, appropriation of pre-approved allocations for old ones and continued contributions to ongoing schemes which were announced by various ministries at different point of time in the past," Kumar said.

Moreover, for a few of the new items totalling to the tune of about Rs 6,000 crore in the package, there is not even a shred of evidence of planning or work on ground, he said.

Making a scathing attack on the Prime Minister for announcing the special package at Arrah "after lots of theatrics like auctioning Bihar", Kumar said after making a detailed study of the "so-called package" he came to the conclusion that "it is nothing but a joke with the state with an intent to win Bihar elections."

Trashing the special package announced during the Prime Minister's visit to Bihar on August 18 as nothing but "narrate a fairy tale to the people of Bihar," Kumar said it was 'aakro ka mayajaal' (illusion weaved on the basis of statistics).

Refusing to thank the PM for the special package for which he used the idiom "making a mountain out of a molehill", the CM said, "By auctioning respect of Bihar, the PM through this illusionary special package has indeed broken faith of the people of the state."

"The bluff of the so-called special package could also be gauged from the fact that despite announcing bonanza of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for Bihar, there is no movement seen in the

Union Finance ministry as from where money would be arranged because they know most of the projects are being carried by PSUs or different ministries out of budgetary allocation and they need not give anything new from its coffer," he said.

Kumar, who has been declared as CM nominee of the grand secular alliance for the Bihar poll, said "we will narrate the truth of the special package in 'Janata ki Adalat' (peoples court)."

Kumar also took a potshot at the Prime Minister over the reservation stir in Gujarat.

"He had claimed to change the face of Bihar with the help of the so-called special package. he should bother about the face of his home state Gujarat burning due to justified agitation of Patels for inclusion in OBC category," Kumar, who had lent support to stir led by Hardik Patel, said.

Giving sector-wise details of the projects included in the special package, Kumar reeled figures to lay bare the "truth of the package". He also posted the details on Facebook and Twitter. He said 41 National Highway projects have been made part of the special package at an estimated cost of Rs 54,713 crore.

"Out of this, Rs 47,553 crore is previously sanctioned cost and only Rs 7,160 crore is new and incremental budgetary allocation," he said.

In the Rural development sector, projects worth Rs 13,820 crore have been included in the special package of which the entire amount is previously sanctioned cost, the Chief Minister said.

In the category of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the total project cost in special package is Rs 21,476 crore of which Rs 21,127 crore is previously sanctioned cost and new and incremental budgetary allocation is only Rs 224 crore, Kumar said.

"Out of this, Rs 125 crore is cost with no trace what-so-ever on ground," the CM said.

For Civil Aviation, project cost is Rs 2,700 crore but the entire sum is the cost with no trace what-so-ever on ground, he added.

In Higher education, out of Rs 1,000 crore, the previously sanctioned cost is Rs 50 crore and new allocation is Rs 950 crore, he said.

For Skill development, total project cost is Rs 1,550 crore of which Rs 300 crore is previously sanctioned and Rs 1,250 new budgetary allocation, Kumar said.

In Agriculture, total project cost is Rs 3,094 crore out of which Rs 400 crore is previously sanctioned cost andrest Rs 2,694 crore is cost with no trace, he said.

Total Projects cost in Railways is Rs 8,871 crore out of which Rs 8,446 crore is previously sanctioned and Rs 423 crore new and incremental budgetary allocation, he said.

In the power sector, the entire Rs 16,130 crore worth projects were previously sanctioned, he added.

In tourism sector, the entire Rs 600 crore is previously sanctioned while for health out of Rs 600 crore projects, Rs240 crore is previously sanctioned and Rs 260 crore is new and incremental allocation, Kumar said.

In reply to a question as who could be the best authority to verify the competing claims of BJP and JD(U) about the special package for Bihar, Kumar put the onus on media.

"Being the fourth pillar of the democracy, I urge the media to verify the details of the so-called special package and highlight the truth to the people," Kumar accompanied by two other senior ministers Vijay Chaudhary and Shyam Rajak said.

Raising the question "what is new in the special package?" Kumar also sought to know what is the time period within which the benefits of the package would be accrued and modalities through which these benefits will be realised and reach the state.

"When and to whom you will give special package, will it come in one year, three years or five years?" he asked and urged the PM to clarify.

Pointing out that a 1320 MW thermal power project would be carried out by SJVN, a Central PSU, at Chausa in Buxar district, Kumar said, SJVN would spend the money on the project from its own resources and also borrow from market.

"The central government has no financial responsibility in it and its trying to cash in only on the plea that it’s a central PSU," he said.

Likewise, the gas pipeline from Jagdishpur to Haldia has to be carried out by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). "Has IOC given clearance for the said project?" Kumar asked and blamed the PM for trying to "win claps falsely."

The doubling and electrification of Railway line whose cost of Rs 8,871 crore was made part of special package was a part of Railway budget of this year, Kumar himself Railway minister during NDA rule of A B Vajpayee, said.

"How many times would you slaughter a hen?" he asked.

"I would have definitely thanked you if you would had at least allocated money for starting Railway projects at Marauhra and Madhepura approved previously," he said on the two projects launched when Lalu Prasad was the Railway minister in UPA I.

With regard to IIM at Gaya which has been included in the special package, Kumar said "its an old sanctioned project and the class in the institution would start from this year."

Kumar also rubbished the PM charge's on the failure of the state to spend money given under BRGF (Backward Region Grant Fund).

"The box as well key of the lock on it with the money was with you and not with Bihar," he said.

( Source : PTI )
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