Chouhan hits back at Digvijay
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Chouhan hits back at Digvijay

EXPECTEDLY, CHIEF Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today hit back at former chief minister Digvijay Singh while replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor?s address today in the Vidhan sabha.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 14:51 IST

EXPECTEDLY, CHIEF Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today hit back at former chief minister Digvijay Singh while replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address today in the Vidhan sabha.

Accusing Digvijay Singh of halting development process during his 10-year term as chief minister, Chouhan justified the BJP’s ‘Mr Bantadhar’ sobriquet for his predecessor.

The Assembly passed the motion by voice vote. Summing up debate on the motion, Chouhan in his public-address mode of speech refuted all the Opposition allegations and reiterated BJP Government’s commitment for a development-oriented and corruption-free administration.

However, he deftly skipped the issue of substantial cut in allocation to schemes for SC and ST welfare although leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi had emphatically raised the issue.

The CM further said that Digvijay Singh seemed to be praising himself for everything that was happening now. “If the roads are being constructed, it is because of him. If the power situation has improved somewhat, it is because of him and if area under irrigation has gone up, it is because of him. I am pleasantly surprised that he did not seek credit for construction of Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar”, the CM taunted.

Chouhan said Singh talked of free consultancy to his successors but if the BJP went by his advise, it would also be reduced to the status of the Congress, he added.

Chouhan denied Singh’s allegation that the clause of compulsory maintenance of roads for five years for the contractors has been deleted by the BJP Government and said roads being constructed under Bond-BOT scheme continue to have an obligation of 15 years maintenance by the contractors.

He said it was wrong to assume that Ayodhya Basti and Gokul Gram schemes of Babulal Gaur Government have been discontinued. The budget allocation for the twin schemes would prove it beyond doubt. But he did not refer to Panch-Ja in this context.

On irrigation front, he said that schemes initiated as far back as 1960 were not completed during Digvijay Singh regime.

The Government seemed to have no funds to complete the projects and now that the irrigation projects were being completed on war footing, Digvijay Singh wants to take credit for it, he said.

Digvijay Singh’s allegation that fishermen cooperative committees have been dissolved was also far from truth, Chouhan said.

In fact, wages of fishermen have been raised by 50 per cent, the Chief Minister added. Accusing Singh of double standards, Chouhan said, on the one hand, he said in the Assembly that he had given free power to farmers and if it were any sin, he would be glad to do it again. But when he attends meeting of the chief ministers convened on power issue, he opposes free power to any section of the society.

“If he was so convinced that free power supply for farmers was such a nice policy, why did he introduce Electricity Reforms Bill in the Assembly’, he asked.

Stating that free power was a cheap slogan, he said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has himself said it many times over. Roads as they existed then and now was for everyone to see. New roads of 24,000 km have been laid and another 40,000 km would be laid in the next three years, he said.

He conceded that there were problems on power front and said even when an additional power of 2300 MW would be available in next three-four years, peak hour demand could be difficult to meet as demand was also likely to go up by then. Therefore, the State Government was exploring all possible means including power generation from alternative energy sources to resolve the crisis.

The Chief Minister, while ridiculing Digvijay Singh’s claim that his Government had done an excellent job in social sector, he said if it were true, MP would not have been only next to top among states in terms of infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate. Forty-five per cent of children in the State would not have been victims of malnutrition.

He also accused the former chief minister of messing up with education system in the State and said he should be credited with pioneering the ‘Karmi-culture’ in the State.

“It was an attempt to provide poor education on concessional rates”, he said. On the other hand, the BJP Government has started Deendayal Antyoday scheme in which poor people would be provided free treatment up to Rs 20,000.

‘Gaon Ki Beti’ has been launched to promote girls’ education in villages. Attempts were also afoot to recruit adequate number of doctors and send them to villages. Within next one year, all the primary schools would have buildings of their own.

And, the mess of cadres among schoolteachers was also being sought to rationalise, he said. On charges of harassment of officers in the inter-corporate deposit (ICD) scheme of M P State Industrial Development Corporation (MPSIDC), he said

prima facie it seemed to be a deliberate loot of public funds by some industrialists in connivance with the officials and everyone concerned including the former chief minister should cooperate in the investigation. On CBI inquiry against the former Speaker Srinivas Tiwari, he said that the State Government has only met its constitutional obligation by complying with the High Court’s order.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 14:51 IST