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Gift ‘gimmick’ in celebration

Ranchi, Dec. 24: An indoor stadium, two engineering colleges, roads in urban and rural areas, polytechnic institutes and a training centre for weavers are among those on the long list of the government’s “gifts” to the people to celebrate 100 days in power.

On the D-Day, December 28, over 300 major and minor projects, worth over Rs 700 crore, would be kicked off. The chief minister’s office is giving the final touches to the list before making it public.

In the road sector, sources said, foundation stones for laying and repairing 42 roads, a project worth nearly Rs 200 crore, would be initiated. The Rural Engineering Organisation has planned to construct 100 roads in rural areas at a project cost of Rs 200 crore.

Invoking the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the government will start employment generation schemes in over 2,000 panchayats.

Chief minister Madhu Koda, cabinet colleagues and MPs and legislators of the UPA would be busy throughout the day laying foundation stones for the schemes.

Sources in the chief minister’s office said Koda has summoned the deputy commissioners of all districts to a discussion on December 26. The deputy commissioners will be asked to ensure that the schemes are completed within the deadline set by the government, they said.

Koda will be laying the foundation stone for the project focusing on repairing the 45-km Haatgamharia-Baraiburu road in his home constituency. If time permits, he will also lay the foundation stone for a government engineering college at Chaibasa.

Deputy chief minister Sudhir Mahto will lay the foundation stone for a forest guesthouse in Chandil and a training centre for weavers in Chakulia. Welfare minister Joba Majhi is slated to lay the foundation for a modern indoor stadium, project estimated at Rs 2 crore, in the Monahapur-Chakradharpur region.

“Science and technology minister Chandra Prakash Chaudhary will be laying the foundation stones for an engineering college and an IT training centre in Ramgarh,” added an official in the chief minister’s office.

Chaudhary is also scheduled to kick off a project aimed at providing running water to the residents of over 50 villages in Chandil and Hazaribagh. These projects cost over Rs 6 crore.

However, the Opposition had called the foundation stone laying ceremonies “gimmicks” to divert the attention of the people from the problems plaguing the UPA government. “These projects were conceived by the NDA government. Our government had given the orders to prepare detailed project reports for these schemes. The new government is only implementing them,” said Ranchi BJP MLA C.P. Singh.

The deputy chief minister was quick to react. “The Opposition should get their facts right. We are laying the foundation stones for projects that were planned during the UPA regime. Work on these projects will begin immediately after the foundation stones are laid,” Mahto added.

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