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Rajendra dream on Pranab agenda

Patna, Sept. 10: President Pranab Mukherjee is set to fulfil Rajendra Prasad’s dream during his state visit in October — inaugurate a Rs 1,800-crore irrigation project on the Gandak to irrigate 1.46 lakh hectares of farmland in north Bihar.

Prasad had, as the Union agriculture minister, conceptualised and sanctioned the project for his home state before entering the Rashtrapati Bhavan as its first occupant.

Known as East Gandak Canal System (Phase II) in official parlance, the project is a part of the ambitious Rs 1.52 lakh-crore agriculture road-map that the Nitish Kumar government has formulated. Mukherjee has agreed to Nitish’s request to inaugurate the roadmap that promises a “rainbow revolution” in Bihar in the next 10 years.

“The Rashtrapati Bhavan today confirmed Mukherjee’s two-day visit to the state beginning from October 3,” Nitish told reporters on the sidelines of his janata durbar.

The JD(U) had supported Mukherjee’s candidature even as the NDA’s choice in the Presidential election was Purno A. Sangma. Pranabda, as Nitish refers to Mukherjee hailing from neighbouring Bengal, has, apparently, returned the gesture by accepting the CM’s request to choose Bihar as his “first destination” as President.

The first two programmes on Mukherjee’s agenda in the state are garlanding a statue of Rajendra Prasad and inaugurating the newly built Rajendra Mandapam, a hall on the premises of Raj Bhavan, where he would put up.

He would inaugurate the revival of the East Gandak Canal System (Phase II) after nearly three decades. The Phase I of the Sone canal system that irrigates the farmland in Siwan, Saran and Gopalganj in Bihar and Deoria in Uttar Pradesh was completed years ago. But the work on the second phase that promised to irrigate farms in Vaishali, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur and Sitamarhi came to a halt in 1985.

Nitish is also likely to raise Bihar’s demand for a special category status with Mukherjee.


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