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Expectations high from PM Modi’s proposed visit to Patna university on October 14

CM Nitish Kumar has made it clear his government had big expectations from the centre in the aftermath of his decision last July to form a new government in Bihar with the BJP and the JD (U)’s return to the NDA.

patna Updated: Oct 05, 2017 20:45 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
PM Narendra Modi,Bihar visit,PU function
PM Narendra Modi (left) with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. (HT file photo)

High expectations mark the proposed visit of prime minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to arrive here on October 14 to grace the main function of the centenary celebration of Patna university, as chief guest.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar had already made it clear the Bihar government had big expectations from the centre in the aftermath of his decision last July to abandon the ‘grand alliance’ and form a new government with the BJP and return the ruling JD (U) to the BJP-led NDA.

It was against this backdrop that chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh. on Thursday, held a meeting with the top brass of the state administration and Patna university, to review preparedness for the PM’s proposed visit.

A senior official said the PM’s itinerary had still not arrived, but besides attending the main programme of PU, he would attend at least one more. “Whatever is the requirement, we will be ready”, he said, adding, he was coming on the invitation of PU authorities.

Sources speculated the second official engagement of the PM would be laying the foundation stone of mega infrastructure projects related to the Namame Gange projects for cleaning the Ganga and a road project.

According to sources, the PM is likely to be accompanied by union water resources minister Nitin Gadkari.

Ahead of the PM’s visit, an eight-member central team headed by Mukesh Mittal, joint secretary, ministry of home affairs, visited Bihar on Thursday to assess the situation in the wake of devastating floods that rocked the state.

The Bihar government has already submitted a memorandum seeking compensation of Rs 736-crore to the Centre.

Six departments – rural works, road, agriculture, water resources, animal husbandry and disaster management – gave a power point presentation for the benefit of the central team, on the magnitude of devastation.

Later, the team left for Purnea, Araria, Kishanganj, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga and east Champaran, for on-the-ground assessment.

The PM had visited Bihar on August 26 for an aerial survey of the floods, which claimed over 425 lives, affected nearly 1.65-crore population and caused massive infrastructural damage.

Announcing Rs 500-crore instant relief, the PM had assured that the Centre would provide all necessary help to compensate the huge infrastructure loss. That announcement may also be made during PM’s visit.

With the PM expected to address a gathering during his trip, BJP leaders are upbeat.

“With Narendra Modi coming, expectations are high as people trust him as a man who delivers. For Bihar, he has a special liking, as he views it as a place with huge unexplored potential. Whatever is required for the state, he will certainly do,” said Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai.

However, the PM’s main engagement would be the PU centenary function in the state capital.

Set up in 1917, PU entered its centenary year on October 1, 2016 but could not plan celebration on time, as the term of the then VC Dr YC Simhadri was nearing its end and the plan of getting the PM for the mega event could not materialize at the time.

However, a belated fresh initiative for celebrating the event got the PM in the loop. The organisers are hopeful the presence of the PM at the event will the further the cause of the demand for the central university status to be granted to the PU.

The main centenary function will be held at the Patna Science College ground, which is being readied as per the requirement. PU has sent a schedule of 40-minute programme for the PM. On Thursday, Patna DM Sanjay Kumar and SSP Manu Maharaj visited Patna Science College to inspect the venue.

Chancellor of universities Satpal Malik, chief minister Nitish Kumar, deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, union law minister Ravishankar Prasad (preceding three are alumni of PU), will be on the dais along with the vice chancellor Rash Behari Prasad Singh.

The list of PU alumni holding high positions in all the fields, including politics, bureaucracy and judiciary, is big and varied. The event may be attended by Modi critics like veteran BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.

“We will send invitations to all the alumni for the function, though we will also also hold a separate alumni meet in December. It is a big occasion, especially with the PM coming. President Ram Nath Kovind has agreed to grace the concluding function in December,” said RB Prasad Singh, VC of PU.

First Published: Oct 05, 2017 20:45 IST