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NRI meet more hype than hope: Lalu

The former Bihar CM said that the non-resident Indians who come here treat the conclave as a picnic and nothing more.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2006 16:25 IST

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar may want to showcase the state at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Hyderabad, but arch-rival and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad does not share his optimism.

Lalu Prasad, president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, in his imitable rustic style questioned the very purpose of the NRI meet.

"The non-resident Indians (NRIs) come here (to India) and treat the meet as a picnic, nothing more," he told reporters in Patna.

The former Bihar chief minister said NRIs had been attending the annual conclave regularly for four years but had invested very little in India. "Let's see if Nitish Kumar succeeds in wooing investment," he said.

A high-level delegation from Bihar led by Nitish Kumar is attending the convention of the Indian Diaspora or Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Hyderabad Jan 7-9 to showcase Bihar as an investment destination.

The Bihar government has announced special incentives and concessions involving land and power supply to woo NRI investment.

Besides offering a single-window clearance system for NRI investors, Bihar will lay special focus on education, agriculture, healthcare, IT, tourism and infrastructure, a senior official said.

Lalu Prasad recalled his bitter experience with NRIs when he visited Singapore, the US and other countries in 1995 to convince them to invest in Bihar.

"I remember that despite assurances, the NRIs did not invest a single paisa here."

A large number of NRIs who trace their roots to Bihar reside in Britain, Canada, the US and the Middle East.

First Published: Jan 07, 2006 16:25 IST