| (From left) Chief minister Nitish Kumar, BIA president KPS Keshri and industrialist Karan Bilimoria at the meet in Patna on Monday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday frowned at the Opposition for pulling up the government on the power crisis front and sending a negative vibe to the investors despite an improved scenario compared to the last decade.
“Bihar used to get only 900MW of power from central allocation 10 years ago. Even that was not fully utilised. Were people enjoying 24x7 electricity then? We are making various efforts not only to increase the power production but also to improve the transmission and sub-transmission lines across the state. Yet, our opponents are accusing us of not addressing the power problem in the state,” Nitish said, addressing the 68th annual general meeting of Bihar Industries Association (BIA).
“In our first tenure, our acceptability was far more because the state was coming out from prolonged phase of under-development. But in the second tenure, I am being blamed for everything — right from the clogged drains to unavailability of electricity. Repeated allegations on the power issue prompted me to announce from Gandhi Maidan recently that I won’t ask for votes in the next election if I can’t address the electricity problem,” said Nitish.
Nitish got a morale booster form Karan Bilimoria, the owner of Cobra Beer and member of House of Lords, the UK, though. He appreciated the state government for creating an atmosphere conducive for investment. “When I was coming to Bihar six years ago, people in the UK used to ask me if I had a kidnap insurance. But I was confident about my venture in the state and today I am happy of my decision,” said Bilimoria.
Besides power, the chief minister said, the state government was taking steps to build roads, bridges, schools and hospitals among others.
“We are trying to promote regional industrial hubs at different places across the state. Various projects have also been undertaken for development of roads and bridges. For instance, we have set the target of developing a six-lane bridge parallel to Gandhi Setu in five years. Similarly, we are going to develop another bridge across the Ganga. The response from developers was so good that we received bids even on zero per cent VGF (viability gap funding),” said the chief minister. Nitish also batted for permanent stakes for the landowners.