| Nitish Kumar at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of an agriculture college in Kishanganj on Saturday. Telegraph picture |
Patna, Jan. 11: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today laid the foundation stone of an ambitious Rs 672-crore agriculture college coming up at 350.40 acres on the bank of the Mahananda at Pothia in Kishanganj district.
“The work on the college will be completed in the next couple of years,” Nitish said, claiming: “I am not a man who lays only foundation stones. I believe in fixing the deadline for achieving a mission and achieve it within the stipulated time period.”
Nitish braved the inclement weather laced with drizzle and biting cold to land at the venue, around 450km from here, to demonstrate that he cared for the minorities more than his rivals did.
Without naming his political archrival, Lalu Prasad, he attacked him through allusions —“Aaj ka yug kalam mein syahi bharne ka hai, lathi mein tel pilane ka nahi (It is the age of filling ink in the pen…it is not the age of soaking lathi in oil).”
Nitish, in fact, reminded the people about Lalu’s penchant with the lathi rallies and other activities alien to the culture of education.
Sources said Nitish managed to pull appreciable crowds despite the hostile weather condition. He addressed a relatively big gathering of about 20,000 people in Kishanganj, a Lok Sabha seat that is believed to have over 40 per cent minority population.
Nitish’s decision to open an agriculture college that would impart education in fishery and horticulture besides traditional agriculture was said to be aimed at countering the Congress-led Union government’s decision to open a branch of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) at Kishanganj.
The Congress had bagged the Kishanganj seat in 2009, trouncing the JD(U) nominee when Nitish’s outfit has swept the polls in the rest of the state. Nitish, however, said: “I got a request from the people here for an agriculture university when I had come to locate land for the AMU. At that time itself I had decided that the region should have a state-of-the-art agriculture college.”
Nitish said the Kishanganj region was dotted with numerous rivers and had “salubrious” climate for opening the agriculture college.
“People from far and wide will land here to study agriculture adding to the prosperity and urbanisation of the region,” Nitish said.