PATNA: This was widely projected as the “double-engine” government which will spur all-round growth and bring prosperity to Bihar when chief minister Nitish Kumar suddenly walked out of the erstwhile ruling Grand Alliance and formed his new government with the BJP in July last year.
Some six months after switching sides, Bihar still finds itself ignored by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, which is yet to consider any of the three major demands of the chief minister.
The first major setback for the state was Centre’s failure to dole out relief package for Bihar flood victims even three months after the Nitish Kumar government sought a financial assistance of Rs 7,636 crore.
The month-long flood affected over 1.61 crore people settled in 19 districts and had caused massive loss of property. It damaged crops and houses.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conducted an aerial survey of the flood-affected districts on 26 August and announced Rs 500 crore as immediate relief for the state while promising more relief once it gets the detailed report of damage from the state government.
Subsequently, the Nitish Kumar government sought a financial assistance of Rs 7,636 crore from the Centre on 11 September for carrying out “restoration and reconstruction of damages caused by the devastating floods” in the state.
Strangely, the Centre is still to act even as the current financial year is coming to a close. What is further strange, the state is yet to get the financial assistance despite a Central team making spot verification of the areas and assessing the flood damage.
Moreover, the Narendra Modi government is yet to fulfill the long-pending demand for granting Special Category status to Bihar. Pressing for the demand, which has always been the “main agenda” of the JD-U, Mr Kumar in 2012 had embarked on a month-long ‘Adhikar Yatra’ across the state.
“Without special category status, Bihar will take at least 25 years more to touch the national average of economic growth but the people of Bihar are not ready to wait for long,” Mr Kumar had told a rally at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan held on 5 November, 2012.In 2012, UPA government was in power at the Centre.
During campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha polls, NDA’s then Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had promised to fulfill this demand should his coalition is voted to power at the Centre.
In July, JD-U chief Mr Kumar crossed sides and returned to the BJP camp claiming things would change fast but nothing concrete is visible as such till now, say sources.
The Narendra Modi government has also refused special financial package to Bihar even though the PM himself had announced the same.
While addressing a rally in Ara on 18 August, 2015 just ahead of Assembly elections, the PM had announced a special package of Rs1.25 lakh crore for Bihar.
“I am here to fulfill the promise I made to you earlier. I had promised to give Bihar a special package of Rs 50,000 crore but now I think such amount will not help quite much to the state. So, I am announcing a package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for Bihar,” Mr Modi had announced.
In addition to that, the PM also announced a special financial assistance of over Rs 40,000 crore. But this promise too remains unfulfilled till date.
Courtesy: The Statesman