Patna, March 26: As the Opposition returned to the Assembly today after nearly a fortnight of boycott, chief minister Nitish Kumar admitted that there had been serious lapses in the preparation of the list of BPL families.
The boycott ended after both sides met Governor R.S. Gavai yesterday and the five Opposition members — against whom the government had moved a censure motion — tendered an “apology” in the chamber of Speaker Udai Narayan Chaudhary. The government, subsequently, withdrew the censure motion.
The chief minister said the government had chalked out a multi-pronged strategy to correct the list and publish it by July. Before resorting to the boycott, the issue was vociferously raised by the Opposition. The list is crucial as it forms the basis of providing subsidised assistance (and other benefits) through the newly-introduced coupon system to lakhs of poor families in rural Bihar.
Thousands of names not eligible to be on the list had crept into the roster and this had led to violent protests in several panchayats. The mistakes crept in not only through the computer system but there were charges of village heads and block officials conniving to manipulate the names.
Nitish today directed all 38 district magistrates to set the correction work as their “topmost priority” and said IAS officers would be appointed “observers” to ensure that the preparation of the corrected list is done within the stipulated timeframe. “Copies (of the list) would be distributed in every village so that everyone can take a look and file objections and corrections. Complaints can be received at all block offices till April.”