Aware of the political repercussions if the rehabilitation and reconstruction process was not started immediately in Kosi region, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna criticised the Centre for sitting over the Bihar government’s demand. He also expressed surprise as to why the Centre was deferring his proposed visit to Kusaha, the site where Kosi embankment was breached.
“Time is of the essence. The Centre has wasted our precious time. Our concern is increasing with each passing day as Lok Sabha elections approach. Once the model code of conduct is imposed, all our plans will be stalled,” Kumar said.
He appealed to the Centre to take immediate decision on the state’s demand for a package of Rs 14,000 crore in order to start reconstruction and rehabilitation work in the flood affected districts.
Wondered over the delay, Nitish said: “After all it had been declared a national disaster by the Prime Minister. Two-and-half months have passed but we are yet to hear anything.” He admitted that the rehabilitation process of the Kosi region is a ‘huge time-taking process’.
The Chief Minister said that even though the Centre was delaying the things, the state government was not sitting idle but doing its bit through its limited resources. “We have already formed an Empowered Committee to implement all the projects which are ready. The region is faced with peculiar problems like that of silt. We want to immediately make roads motorable,” he said. Kumar said that the government had already started the second round of gratuitous relief distribution. “I will be visiting some camps on January 14 and 15 to oversee relief work,” he said.
The Chief Minister also expressed surprise as to why he was not allowed to visit Kusaha to oversee the embankment repair work. “I wanted to go there on December 30, but was stopped on the pretext that Ambassador was not there. When I planned it after January 3, they are saying that he put off the visit till the coffer dam was completed. It’s strange. We are the executing agency yet I am not allowed to monitor the work,” he said.