Patna, Feb. 6: The resignation of Parveen Amanullah has raised questions about the functioning of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with more and more allegations about lack of transparency coming to the fore.
Amanullah, who joined the Aam Aadmi Party today after quitting as social welfare minister and the membership of the Janata Dal (United) on Tuesday, has said she felt stifled within the system and accused the Nitish dispensation of corruption and lack of transparency in its functioning.
Senior leaders have been voicing their frustration ever since Amanullah’s decision to quit.
“The onus is on the chief minister’s office where files of ministers get stuck and are often tampered with,” said a former minister from the JD(U), who did not wish to be named for obvious reasons. The minister recalled that queries to the CM’s office regarding files were often met with a curt “dekh rahe hai (we are looking into it)” response from officials.
BJP leader Giriraj Singh, who was animal husbandry minister, was more forthcoming. Giriraj recalled that he had moved a file for setting up a veterinary university in Patna when he joined the ministry. “Till the time I was thrown out of the ministry, I do not know what happened to the file,” he said.
Giriraj said he had also moved a project jointly with the energy department for solar energy in the wetlands of Bihar which would also breed fish. “It was for the welfare of the people in which 35MW of power would have been produced from each of the 31 districts and simultaneously push the production of fish. Again I do not know what happened to the file. I never got it back from the CM’s office,” Giriraj said.
The department of sports, art and culture nominates members of senates for the universities of Bihar. The file was moved during the tenure of Sukhda Pandey as minister. So was a proposal of having a full-fledged committee of the Sports Authority of Bihar. Departmental sources indicate that these files have not returned from the CM’s office despite a lapse of more than 18 months. Pandey was sacked along with the BJP ministers in June last year.
Ashwani Choubey, who held key posts in the NDA regime, said that as health minister, he remembered that files related to transfer and posting got stuck for over a year in the chief minister’s office.
Prem Kumar, who held the key urban development ministry, concurred. “Key files related to the Metro railway and housing projects were delayed by over six months as the CM’s office refused to clear the files. The housing bylaws and the master plan for the state capital was never cleared during my tenure,” he said.
JD(U) ministers also privately concede that rules of executive business have often been violated. “A clerk gives his noting on the files after the minister has cleared it,” said a JD(U) minister, stressing that the principal secretary of his department often gives a dissent on the same file and sends it to the CM’s office directly.