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Minister fires waterlogging salvo at MLAs

Urban development and housing minister Samrat Choudhary accused the Patna MLAs of not being concerned about the problems of residents on Monday, the day a youth died falling into an open drain pit beside a flooded road in Kankerbagh.

Samrat said had the MLAs used the funds given to them, the city would not have faced the waterlogging problem. “The urban development and housing department had provided Rs 51 crore to the MLAs of Patna Sahib, Bankipore, Digha and Kumhrar constituencies last year for their constituencies’ development, including an adequate drainage system to address the waterlogging problem. But looking at the current scenario of Patna, one really needs to find out the way the money was spent,” the minister told The Telegraph.

Samrat’s statement sparked off anger among the MLAs. A couple of them claimed that they had not been called even once by the urban development and housing department in the past one year to discuss the issues of their constituencies.

Poonam Devi, the dissident JDU MLA from Digha, said: “This (Samrat’s statement) is not at all right. It has been more than a year now and no meetings have taken place. Funds for the development of constituencies were released from the chief minister’s urban development scheme,” the MLA told The Telegraph.

Nitin Navin, the BJP MLA from Bankipore, echoed Poonam and blamed the government for the problems. “The minister is issuing misleading statements. It has been more than a year now that the department has consulted the MLAs to know the problems of our areas,” Naveen said.

Repeated attempts to contact Patnasahib’s BJP MLA Nand Kishore Yadav and Kumhrar legislator Arun Kumar Sinha (BJP) proved futile.

As the legislators frowned at Samrat, the minister said the urban development and housing department would spend another Rs 50 crore for improving the drainage system of the city instead of wasting time in digging out the details of the funds utilisation by the MLAs.

Samrat said his department had conducted surveys and zeroed in on four localities plagued with serious waterlogging problem. “They are the areas in front of the Mahavir Temple near Patna Junction, places near the Saidpur drain, the Congress Maidan in Kadamkuan and the spots near the sump house at Hanuman Nagar in Kankerbagh. By March next year, the department would spend Rs 50 crore and develop a proper drainage system in these places. We assure that the waterlogging problem will be controlled considerably by the next monsoon,” the minister said.


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