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Lalu has little hope from PBD
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | January 07, 2006 22:06 IST
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar may have high hopes of attracting non-resident Indian investment for development of the state at the NRI meet in Hyderabad that began Saturday, but his main political rival Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav has little hope from NRIs.
Lalu has questioned the purpose of the NRI meet by describing it as a picnic spot. "The NRIs come here (India) to enjoy and treat the meet as a picnic; nothing more than a picnic," Lalu told newspersons in Patna in reference to media hype over Nitish's move to woo NRI investment .
Lalu said NRIs were coming regularly for the last four years, but had invested little in India. "Let's see if Nitish Kumar manages to succeed," he said.
A high-level delegation of Bihar led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is attending the annual convention of the Indian Diaspora or Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Hyderabad from January 7-9 to showcase Bihar as an investment destination.
The Nitish government has announced to offer special incentives and concessions that will include land, electricity, roads and security at lower rates to woo NRIs.
Besides offering a single-window clearance system for NRI investment, Bihar will lay special focus on education, agriculture, healthcare, IT, tourism and infrastructure, a senior official said.
However, Lalu recalled his own bitter experience with NRIs when he said that his trip to Singapore, USA and other countries in 1995 to convince NRIs to invest in Bihar had failed. "I remember that despite getting so many assurances, the NRIs did not invest a single paise here," he said.
It was Lalu, who was one of the first chief ministers in the 1990s to initiate a move to woo NRI investment. He had hosted the big NRIs meet in Patna and had personally invited them to dinner at 1 Anne Marg, his sprawling official residence then.