Bihar finally gets polls special package

Prime minister announces Rs 1.25 lakh crore and additional Rs 40,000 crore funds for various projects

GN Bureau | August 18, 2015


#bihar   #narendra modi   #nitish kumar   #bjp   #jdu  

It was a big bang announcement for Bihar. Prime minister Narendra Modi announced a special package worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore, and an addition fund of Rs 40,000 crore for the poll-bound Bihar on Tuesday at rally in Arrah.

 "I welcome the fact that Bihar is not a bimaru state. But still the government keeps asking for something or the other. I am here today to fulfill my promise to you. I am announcing a package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for Bihar. Now you give me your blessings to change the fate of Bihar... Only development will benefit the state and eradicate its poverty. Bihar will touch new heights of development," he said at a government function where several projects were launched.

Modi also made it clear that the Rs 1.25 lakh crore package will be in addition to the ongoing development projects worth Rs 40657 cr, announced previously.

Amid high-stakes Assembly election, BJP is banking heavily on the Centre's development package to wrest power from JDU’s Nitish Kumar, its one time ally-turned-rival, who has now joined hands with Lalu Prasad's RJD to take on the saffron combine.

The prime minister took a dig at Kumar, saying the chief minister could not attend the event as "he had politics to look into". The BJP leader also slammed the UPA government for making hoax promises to the state.

The biggest chunk of the funds has been approved for highway and road building projects. A total of Rs 54,713 crores have been allotted for highways which includes 2,775 kilometres of highways and construction of bridges across the Kosi, Sone and Ganga rivers.

The next big chunk of funds has been allotted in the petroleum and gas sectors. Expansion of the Barauni Refinery and a petrol-diesel pipeline from Raxaul to Nepal are some of the projects planned.

With the PM’s thrust on providing electricity to rural homes, the special package includes the allotment of Rs 16,130 crores for the electrification of villages and small towns. A 1,300 MW power plant at Buxar is also planned.

While Rs 3,094 crores have been planned under the package for farmer welfare, Rs 1,000 crores have been allotted in the education sector. Projects planned include an IIM at Bodh Gaya and a Central University near Bhagalpur.

Construction of a new airport at Patna and the development of airports at Gaya, Raxaul and Purnea are also some of the projects proposed. The Prime Minister had also announced an additional Rs 40,000 crores for the state, which includes the leftover Rs 8,000 crores from an earlier 2013 package, along with funds allotted for ongoing work of national highways.

Sector-wise breakup of special package:

Highways : Rs 54,713 crore,  petroleum and gas: Rs 21,476 crore, electricity : Rs 16,130 crore, rural roads : Rs 13,820 crore, railways : Rs 8,870 crore, airports : Rs 2,700 crore, farmer’s welfare : Rs 3,094 crore, skill development : Rs 1,550 crore, education : Rs 1,000 crore, health : Rs 600 crore, tourism : Rs 600 crore and digital Bihar : Rs 440 crore.

Meanwhile,  reacting to the announcement, Rashtriya Janata Dal(RJD) leader Manoj Jha questioned the package, saying Modi did not make any specific announcement about the grant.

He also raised questions about the announcement, terming it as "not good for the democracy". The RJD leader accused the PM of converting a government programme into an election rally.

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