Patna, June 16: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today raked up Bihar’s demand for a special category status to the state in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Nitish sent the letter to the PM two days after the JD(U) decided to launch an agitation for the special status tag.
The JD(U) has chalked out new strategies to rake up the demand after the Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) of the Planning Commission rejected the plea recently. Nitish’s letter to Singh is seen as a bid to give a boost to the JD(U) agitation plan. In the letter, Nitish said he was disappointed with the IMG report that did not consider issues spelt out in the memorandum sent by the state.
“The IMG seems to have worked in a mechanical and perfunctory fashion with bias and predilection to reach pre-ordinated conclusions. The report clearly recognises the huge development deficit of Bihar and mentions that it is among the lowest in the country on the human development index. It also recognises that the special plan under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) be continued and strengthened in the 12th Plan to enable the state to complete its ongoing projects and take up new projects. Despite all this, the IMG concludes that Bihar’s case of Special Category Status is not made out,” Nitish said in the letter.
He added that the IMG had “juxtaposed and cherry picked data and statistics to suit such kind of a negative conclusion”. The letter read: “Instead of giving the state government officials an interactive opportunity, the IMG held a proforma discussion on March 26, barely four days prior to the submitting its report on March 30. An interactive session, in which the officials of the state government could have shared their views, may have enabled more meaningful deliberations.”
He added that the IMG, in a very mechanical fashion, had mentioned five characteristics to be considered for the special category status.
“On the criteria of hilly and difficult terrain, it concludes that Bihar is located in the Indo-Gangetic plain but then dismisses the annual cycle of floods comparing it to flood prone areas of Utter Pradesh, Odisha or even West Bengal. It is strange as Bihar is India’s most flood-prone state. Then, on the criteria of low density of population for special status states, the IMG overlooked the fact that north Bihar is one of the most densely populated areas of the country and its huge population imposes enormous pressure on infrastructure and social services,” the chief minister added.