A barrage of announcements happening

Bolo kitna du...

A barrage of announcements happening again

  • Anand Madhab

PM Package of Rs. 1.25 Lakh Crore for Bihar: Nothing more than a deception.

It is election season; baits have started to be laid. Just like every election, in view of the forthcoming Bihar assembly elections, our honorable Prime Minister has opened his pandora’s box of declarations. Daily inauguration of many schemes is being undertaken. It is the time of Corona. Due to monopoly on publicity system and media, cheers are also being gathered. In charge of Bihar Congress and National Spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil Ji says that is it possible for Modi ji to not shower gifts in an election year? Now it is Bihar’s turn to reap benefits from these gifts. It is to be known that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started showering ‘Jumlas’ again for Bihar in the election year. Various development projects of over Rs. 16,000 croreshave been initiated; virtually. These projects are related to LPG pipeline, LPG bottling plant, sewage disposal plant under ‘Namami Gange’, water supply scheme, project for development of riverbanks, new railway lines, railway bridges, electrification of various blocks and construction of highways and bridges. Actually, Modi Ji is a Re-packaging expert.

The same thing happened during the assembly elections in August 2015, when while addressing an election rally in Bihar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his special style had said, “Brothers and sisters, should I give 70 thousand, 80 thousand, 90 thousand crores for Bihar? Or should I give more? Let me give 1.25 Lakh Crores.”

However, the then Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the leaders of Congress and other parties had raised serious questions on the manner of this announcement made by PM Modi. The current president of Bihar Congress, Dr. Madan Mohan Jha, says that Bihar has not received any special treatment in the transfers from the central government in the last six years;despite being the worst performer on multiple indicators of development. These declarations are a sham that Modi ji remembers only during elections. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, dismantling the Prime Minister’s announcements by giving a government advertisement in newspapers, had said on 1 September,2015 that out of the 1.25 lakh crore rupees, the amount of 1.08 lakh crore is only repackaging of the amount allocated to the old projects and currently ongoing projects. Bihar was not given anything separately. The title of that advertisement was - “Truth of special package of 1.25 lakh crore rupees”. The state government also presented the details of how much amount (amount in crores) was given to which sector.

According to the announcement, the details of the package was something like-

  1. National Highway-54,713

  2. Rural Development - 13,820

  3. Petroleum and Natural Gas-21,476

  4. Civil Aviation-2700

  5. Higher Education-1000

  6. Skill Development-1550

  7. Agriculture-3094

  8. Rail-8871

  9. Energy-16130

  10. Telecom-449

  11. Tourism-600

  12. Health-600

Total -1,25,003

The updated status after 5 years of the amount of 1,25,003 is shown in the table given below:

Cost of projects not yet on the ground- (Amount in crore)

An amount of 54,713 crorewas publicized by adding earlier schemes in the field of path construction.

Name of the scheme - Cost (Amount in crore)

  1. 4-lane widening of NH-30 Patna Koilwar Pathway - 492

  2. Four-lane widening of Koilwar-Bhojpur of NH-30 and 84 - 750

  3. 4-lane widening of Bhojpur-Buxar path of NH-84 to 595

  4. 4-lane widening of Bakhtiyarpur-Mokama Path of NH-31 - 970

  5. Construction of 4 lane bridge over Ganga river at Mokama of NH-31- 520

  6. 4-lane widening of Simaria-Khagaria stretch of NH-31 -1062.58

  7. 2-lane widening of Chhapra-Gopalganj Pathway of NH-85 - 748.06

  8. 4-lane widening of NH-57A’s Farbisganj-Jogbani Pathway-200

  9. 4-lane widening of Patna-Gaya-Dobhi path of NH-83 - 1231.98

  10. NH-82’s Bihar Sharif-Barbigha-Mokama Pathways widening in 2 lanes -399.54

  11. 2-lane widening of Chhapra-Rewa-Muzaffarpur stretch of NH-102 -420.58

  12. NH-527C Kemjhauli-Charaut Path widening in 2 lanes-700

  13. 2-lane widening of Maheshkunt-Saharsa-Purnia stretch of NH-107 - 1000

  14. Construction of Patna Ring Road in 4-6 lanes-1500

  15. Construction of 4 lane of Kishanganj bypass path of NH31- 250

  16. 4-lane widening of Mokama-Khagadia Pathways of NH-31 - 810

  17. Upgradation of Fatuha-Harnaut-Flood Pathway in 2 lanes-from km 0 to 69.6 of NH-30A- 591.20

  18. Upgrading 2-lane Shivhar-Sitamarhi-Jayanagar-Narhiya stretch of km 40 to 217 of NH-104 - 701.44

  19. Widening of NH-106 km 0 to 106 Birpur-Bihpurpathin 2 lanes -575.34

  20. Construction of Bhagalpur bypass of NH-80 – 268

  21. Construction of new bridge parallel to Gandhi Setu located on NH-19 - 5000

  22. 2-lane widening of NH-28B from km 25 to 40 Bettiah-Misraulia Pathway - 88.61

  23. 2-lane widening of NH-28B from km 65 to 97 from Parsauni to new village pathway-206.80

  24. Wideningof NH-133 km 0 to 10.903 in 2 lanes-28.04

  25. 2-lane widening of NH-327A km 2 to 25 (Supaul-Bhapatiyahi) -77.55

  26. Wideningof NH-327E km 93.612 to 98 (Araria Town) in 2 lanes-64.52

  27. 2-lanes Widening of NH-2C NH-80, NH-99, NH-527A -680

  28. Redecking work of Gandhi Setu Patna - 2800

  29. Construction of 12 rail overbridges-900

  30. Development of newly announced National Highways-6600

  31. Construction of Raxaul to Sonbarsa Path-1800

  32. Chakia to Bargnia Path-1000

  33. 4-lane construction of Rampur-Khajuria Kesariya-1160

  34. 4-lane construction of Umgaon-Basopatti-Benipatti-Madhubani-Supaul-Saharsa road-5000

  35. Ramjanaki Marg (Siwan-Madhubani-Sitamarhi) -4000

  36. Bridge over the Ganges at Munger-2361.87

  37. Construction of Sahebganj-Manihari road with bridge over Ganges river-2000

Total - 47,553.11

Newly announced scheme

  1. Son bridge connecting NH-2C to Panduka and Garhwa in Jharkhand-2000

  2. Construction of pathway connecting Mohania on NH 2 through Buxar to Chausa-Ramgarh on NH-84 – 960

  3. Widening of NH-80 Munger Mirza Chowki Pathway to 4 lane- 1200

  4. Bridge construction on the Kosi River between Phulaut and Biphur of NH-106-3000

(Total –Rs. 7,160 crores)

The funny thing is that no notification of this PM package was issued. All the announcements were publicized and circulated at a mere release of the Press Information Bureau. Under Right to Information in response to the application filed by Iqbal Ansari, Joint Secretary cum Public Information Officer, Government of Bihar, Pankaj Kumar Sinha vide letter S.No.-B.14/Misc-54/2019/545 / V, dated 29/05/2019 told that the Finance Department (Government of Bihar) has not received any amount since 2014 in the Prime Minister Package Bihar-2015.

In response to another RTI, the Niti Aayog had also said in its letter no. 35/1/12016-FR dated 26/04/2017 that, ‘It is to be stated that Financial Resources Division does not have any information requested in the application except the press release dated 18th August, 2015 of Prime Minister’s office on ‘Prime Minister’s Bihar Package 2015- Rs.1,25,003 crore’.

However, while addressing a virtual rally held in Bihar in June 2020, Home Minister Amit Shah Ji attempted to render accounts of this one lakh twenty-five thousand crore rupees.

The updated status of most of the repackaged projects is in a lurch, six years have almost been completed. And now this new repackaging of sixteen thousand crores rupees, and this time Nitish ji is also involved in this chicanery.

The people of Bihar are a symbol of simplicity and tolerance, but this does not mean that they will always tolerate such election announcements or remain utterly foolish. The public has seen the fate of Modi Ji’s empty announcements, so this time it does not seem to be vulnerable.

Eminent Economist of Bihar Prof. Naval Kishore Chaudhary believes that election time announcements do not meet the scale of factuality. There are no plans and no programs behind them. This has only been used as a temptation to attract voters. There is no morality in this but there are only election promises. We have criticized it before and we do so even today, that people should not be shown any kind of pipe dreams during the time of elections. Neither Bihar had received a package of 1.25 lakh crore before, nor today the package of sixteen thousand crore rupees is going to be received. I believe that the Election Commission should take steps on this and ban such announcements at least six months before the election.

The writer is a Chairman, Research Deptt. and Manifesto Committee Bihar Congress