BJP fires road complaint to Nitish
The BJP has written to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar complaining about corruption in the construction of rural roads in the state and alleging that government engineers, contractors and politicians were hand in glove in “gobbling up” public money.
The letter was written by Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal on Wednesday, but became public on the eve of Nitish’s visit to Mainatand and Valmikinagar in West Champaran district on Friday, where the JDU boss is scheduled to inaugurate and lay the foundation stones for various government projects.
“Construction of roads not conforming to the quality standards cannot happen without the collusion of engineers. Please get high-level enquiry conducted of the quality of rural roads constructed in the Assembly constituency to which you are coming. Many roads of poor quality will come to light in which engineers and contractors are involved,” Jaiswal wrote in the letter to Nitish, a BJP ally who heads the NDA government in the state.
Jaiswal, who represents West Champaran in the Lok Sabha, cited the example of one such road constructed under the Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in his own constituency.
The example pertains to the Thavaiya-Sikhaiyya PMGSY road in Majhaulia block. Jaiswal alleges in the letter that altogether an advance of around Rs 95 lakh had been given in three instalments between December 2018 and March 2019 to the contractor without any construction being done.
“It has come to my knowledge that politicians are also involved along with engineers to help gobble up the money by declaring the area as flood-affected and showing that the road was washed away in the floods, despite the fact that no floods have come in the area,” Jaiswal wrote.
Jaiswal has requested the chief minister to “take express action against the engineer and contractor involved in gobbling up government money, and also ask the secretary to inform me (Jaiswal)”.
Shailesh Kumar, a JDU leader, heads the rural works department.
The letter comes on the heels of the BJP state president’s blog last month in which he had put the Nitish government in the dock over deteriorating law and order in the state as well as lack of coordination between the ruling parties.
However, the relationship between the allies has not been easy since the Lok Sabha poll results when, riding a brute majority, the BJP had sidelined the JDU over sharing power at the Centre.
The JDU, on its part, has also continuously voiced its opposition on issues dear to the BJP such as Article 370, the National Register of Citizens, uniform civil code and triple talaq, among others.
A section of senior BJP leaders in the state had asked Nitish to resign and renounce politics. JDU leaders had responded by projecting him as the undisputed leader of the NDA in Bihar.
The acrimony had subsided in October after BJP national chief and Union home minister Amit Shah declared that the NDA would contest the 2020 Bihar polls under the leadership of Nitish, though the differences seem to be rising of late.
Jaiswal did not respond to calls from The Telegraph. Rural works minister Shailesh Kumar’s mobile phone was switched off.
JDU spokesperson Sanjay Singh declined comment on the letter. “We don’t know anything about the letter and we will not speak anything on it,” Singh said.