Central doles have started making their way into poll-bound Bihar as Union road minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday rolled out a `50,000-crore plan for the state and railway projects worth approximately `10,000 crore were being aggressively pursued.
The big-ticket projects were viewed as an attempt by the BJP-led NDA to offset the ruling Janata Dal (United) government’s development agenda.
Gadkari said at a function in Patna work on roads and highways would start this year itself, probably before the September-October assembly elections in the state.
He also announced plans to builds a Ganga river port in Patna to connect it with Kolkata by next year, saying there’s no dearth of money in his ministry for developmental projects. “The only thing needed for is willpower and a vision for development,” he said.
Among railway projects identified for completion this year, the pending rail-cum-road overbridges in Patna and Munger get priority. Besides, construction of new railway lines and gauge conversion will be taken up too.
A proposed electric locomotive factory in Madhepura has been put on fast-forward mode as the railway ministry has completed the process of pre-bid conferences with three shortlisted firms. “The contract for building the Madhepura factory is likely to be awarded by August-end,” a source said.
It is likely that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally inaugurate a rail coach factory at Chapra, possibly in July. Construction was completed three years ago, but the facility has been partially functional.
The NDA’s announcements came on a day Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar poured scorn on the Narendra Modi government, sarcastically saying people “voted for a selfless leadership but got a selfie leadership”.