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Munda seeks central aid

Ranchi, June 26: Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Arjun Munda has been camping in New Delhi for the last few days, lobbying with Union ministers for “special attention” to Jharkhand.

With the Union Budget likely to be tabled in Parliament on July 10, Munda, who went to the national capital on Tuesday evening, is learnt to have presented a case for better budgetary allotment to fast-track growth in the state.

While the former chief minister met Union urban development minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and minister of state (independent charge) for power, coal and renewable energy Piyush Goyal yesterday, he called on home minister Rajnath Singh and minister of state (independent charge) for petroleum and natural gases Dharmendra Pradhan today.

During his meeting with Rajnath Singh, Munda raised the issues of deteriorating law and order and Naxalism in the state. When contacted, Munda said there were discussions on a wide range of issues to safeguard Jharkhand interests.

“I apprised the home minister of the prevailing law and order situation in the state. This apart, I also highlighted blatant violation of norms in different areas, including transfer and posting of IPS/IAS officers, by the Hemant Soren government,” Munda told The Telegraph over telephone from Delhi.

Asked to elaborate, the BJP leader said, “It wouldn’t be wise for me to divulge finer details of this meeting in larger interests of Jharkhand.”

Sources revealed since Singh was the national president of the BJP, several issues concerning the party and its activities in Jharkhand also came up for discussion during the meeting.

During his meeting with petroleum minister Pradhan, Munda stressed on the need for exploring natural gas in Jharkhand to meet the ever-growing demand for fuel. He also sought a gas pipeline in Ranchi at the earliest.

“I also asked him to look for alternative energy sources. The soaring petroleum prices, guided by the global market, have made the commoners’ life miserable. If we can develop technologies to make coal a viable substitute, things would change,” Munda added.

Yesterday, the senior state BJP leader met urban development minister Naidu and power minister Piyush Goyal and requested them to give due attention to the priorities set in the 12th Five Year Plan. Proper execution of various urban growth schemes and necessary assistance for improving power supply prominently figured during the deliberations.

Usually the chief minister and his ministers are expected to raise the state’s demands with the Centre for funds and assistance. However, so far, only state rural development minister K.N. Tripathy had met former Union minister Gopinath Munde a few days before his death in a road accident and had requested him to revise Indira Awas Yojana allocations.

Chief minister Hemant Soren did try to meet the Prime Minister in the second week of June with his charter of demands but did not get an appointment owing to the latter’s prior engagement.


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