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Bihar special status: Set up expert panel, Nitish tells PM

June 16, 2012 18:34 IST
Expressing disappointment over the rejection of special category status to Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to set up an expert committee to consider the state's long pending demand.

The Centre should set up an expert committee to consider in-depth a memorandum on the special category status to Biharand various letters written by the state government for a decision on the long pending request, he said in a letter to the prime minister on Friday.

"The expert committee should take a fair and rational decision on demand for special category status to Bihar and respond positively to the aspirations of a poor, backward state, which notwithstanding recent process, remains at the bottom of development pyramid both in terms of poverty indicators and various indices of human development," Kumar said.

He also urged Singh to direct the special cell in the Planning Commission set up in the context of Bihar Reorganisation Act to draft short and medium-term measures to mitigate the consequences of the bifurcation of the state.

"The 103.8 million people of Bihar expect justice and equity to meet their legitimate aspirations and are hopeful that the central government will initiate steps to fulfill their needs," Kumar said and hoped that the Centre will set up the expert committee to consider important suggestions mentioned in the memorandum for special category status.

Kumar trashed the inter-ministerial group report that rejected the demand for special category status to Bihar despite recognising 'huge development deficit of Bihar' and mentioning that it is 'among the lowest in the country on human development index.'

The IMG, he said, had recognised that the special plan under the Backward Region Grant Fund should be continued and strengthened in the 12th Plan period to enable

Bihar complete the on-going projects and take up new projects to address infrastructure gaps.

"But despite clear articulation of the special requirement of the state it concluded that 'Bihar's case for special category status is not made out."

"I am disappointed with the report as the IMG did not consider the issues spelt out in our memorandum submitted to you in July, 2011, with any seriousness and seems to have worked in a mechanical and perfunctory fashion with bias and predilection to reach pre-ordained conclusions," he said.

The IMG have juxtaposed and 'cherry-picked' data and statistics to suit its negative conclusion on the demand for special category status to Bihar, he said and alleged that the state government officials were never given opportunity for meaningful deliberation with it before finalisation of the report on March 30, 2012.

The chief minister also trashed the five-point characteristics identified by the IMG for according special category status with one of them being hilly and difficult terrain, while Bihar is located on the Indo-Gangetic plain to reject.

But it had 'conveniently' dismissed the annual cycle of floods that makes it India's most flood-prone state. A large portion of the total flood-affected area in the country lies  in Bihar affecting a disproportionately high percentage of the total flood-affected population in the country live in the state, he said. 

 

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