Nitish busy launching schemes with eye on rural Bihar as poll announcement nears
Bihar polls are likely to be announced in the first week of September after which the model code of conduct will come into effect.Updated: Sep 02, 2020, 12:47 IST
With the date for announcement of assembly election drawing closer, Bihar chief minister is a busy man, inaugurating new development schemes, launching completed ones and making on-the-spot visits to review progress of ongoing flagship schemes at great speed.
In the last three weeks alone, Kumar has inaugurated or launched schemes and projects worth Rs 60,000-crore involving departments of rural development, power, water resources, education, environment, road and the flagship ‘seven resolves’ to present his government’s development-face before the elections. The schemes cover the length and breadth of the state.
Many of these schemes were in the pipeline for long, viz upgrading schools in 3,304 panchayats of the state up to class 9 to ensure presence of a secondary school in every panchayat, so that girls do not drop out after primary schooling due to lack of avenues.
With Bihar achieving gender parity at the secondary level, the government has used it to silence the critics in the Opposition, which have been consistently claiming that the state had slipped on the front of education.
The CM has already announced that after having ensured electricity connection to every village, his next target is to bring water to every farm, should the people give him another chance to serve on the basis of what his government has done to realise the dream of inclusive development.
Bihar is an agrarian state with over 80% living in rural areas dependent on agriculture for livelihood.
Kumar has also been asking to take the development message to the masses, especially the new generation voters, who might not be aware of “how far and from where the state has marched”, in an apparent bid to counter the Opposition narrative aimed to capitalise on any possible anti-incumbency against him.
Last week, Kumar made another developmental promise to the people of the state—road connectivity linking every village to the nearby national and state highways.
“In my next innings, I will provide good connectivity to every village,” he added.
The focus of Nitish government has clearly been on rural areas and small towns, which is where most of his schemes and projects are located.
The projects inaugurated or launched this month include schemes worth Rs 15,192 crore by the rural works department, Rs 4,855 crore related to electricity department, Rs 180 crore worth projects by dairy and animal husbandry department, Rs 5,024 crore worth road and bridge projects, Rs 1,725 crore by the building construction department, Rs 1469 crore by the water resource department, Rs 628 crore by the minor water resources department and inauguration of two arms of flyover in Patna and the building of the Bihar Agriculture University (Sabour).
At all the functions, Kumar does not forget reminding people that they should not lose sight of the development done by his government at the time of elections, “as his government’s sole objective has been to reduce the urban-rural divide by taking development to the remotest corners of the state, which the people have seen with electricity reaching every part of the state to end the need for lantern (RJD election symbol) and the smooth connectivity provided from all the districts to the state capital”.
On Friday, he inaugurated projects involving piped-drinking water and pucca lanes and drainage systems in rural areas across the state, worth Rs 33,716 crore. These were part of the Bihar government’s ‘seven resolves’, a set of seven promises made during the 2015 election to ensure basic amenities to every household. He has also emphasised the need to complete the first phase of the coveted Ganga Water Lift Scheme (GWLS) for the supply of clean drinking water in towns of Gaya, Bodhgaya and Rajgir.
WRD minister Sanjay Jha said though the completion of the project involving Rs 2,800 crore would stretch up to mid 2021 due to the lockdown, it would solve a perennial problem and conceiving it was, in itself, a big task.
“Bihar’s development journey since 2005 is not about drawing any contrast with the previous regime prior to 2005. That is meaningless. It is what the people have experienced over the years to see change in their life in the remotest corners of the state and now rightfully have aspirations for more. Earlier, they could not even aspire,” said Bihar public relations minister and JD-U spokesman Neeraj Kumar.
He added that Nitish Kumar was brought to power by people’s yearning for development.
“This is what has brought Nitish Kumar people’s trust and this will again show the mirror to the opposition, which is harping on an empty rhetoric,” Neeraj Kumar added.
Congress MLC Premchandra Mishra, however, said that Nitish Kumar seemed to be in an unusual hurry.
“If he has really done so much for development, how has so much remained to be done? He seems to be in a hurry to get his name inscribed on stones when election announcement is round the corner and Bihar is battling the twin scourge of Covid-19 pandemic and the floods. Besides, he also wants to send the message that he is working for development, as his model is under question and the people know a lot more with their experience,” he added.