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Revealed: Modi govt set to dole big money bonanza for Nitish Kumar's Bihar

RTI shows details of 'special assistance' given to Bihar by Modi

Sai Manish  |  New Delhi 

Nitish Kumar alliance with BJP
File photo: Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

This article first appeared in Business Standard on 28 July, 2017

With the and JD(U) joining hands in Bihar, the stage is finally set for implementing one of the foremost poll promises made by Prime Minister in the run up to the elections in 2015. While Modi had announced a special package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for at an election rally in Arrah in August 2015, it has released money to the state only for projects sanctioned under the 12th Five-Year Plan. The plan, which commenced in 2012, coincidentally, will end this year. This sets the stage for the BJP-JD(U) alliance in to go full steam ahead, with the special package for the backward state promised by Modi in his 2015 election rally.  

Information obtained by Business Standard under the Right to Information (RTI) shows that the had issued a release order of almost Rs 1,888 crore to as ‘special assistance’ in 2015-16. 

The financial resources division of did not give details of the special assistance given to during 2016-17. The money given to as special assistance was to be used for one ongoing project of the 11th Five-Year Plan and nine projects approved during the 12th Five-Year Plan.

The Ministry of Finance in a letter dated 8 February, 2016 sanctioned the money after a recommendation was sent to it by on 31 December, 2015. (see document at the end of the article). This letter was issued just a month after the government was sworn after the grand alliance with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress managed to outflank  in the state polls.

The letter states that was to utilise the money only for projects that were approved by the government. The government was to furnish utilisation certificates to the after spending the money on the approved projects.  

Among the nine projects in the 12th Five-Year Plan, for which money was released include one highway project and eight projects to boost Bihar’s electricity distribution system. The sole highway project under the 11th Five-Year Plan, for which special assistance was earmarked, was rail-cum-road project across the River Ganga at Digha near Patna. (See the second document attached at the end of article) This bridge was to run parallel to existing Gandhi bridge across the Ganga river in Bihar’s capital. The letter sanctioning an amount of Rs 121 crore for this project was issued on 31 March, 2016 by the Ministry of Finance.

The highway project in the 12th Five-Year Plan was to be used for building a two-lane semi-elevated road in addition to a four-lane elevated highway over the Patna canal. This was to be used as an approach road for the rail-cum-road bridge near Digha and an amount of Rs 279 crore was sanctioned for the same.

The bulk of the money, for which money was sanctioned as special assistance, was for electricity projects. Among these, more than half the money totalling almost Rs 1,000 crore was for two projects. One of them included strengthening of the power distribution system and removing distribution constraints in North and South Bihar, for which an amount of Rs 438 crore was sanctioned as special assistance. Meanwhile, the strengthening of the sub-transmission system in was sanctioned an amount of Rs 555 crore by the

Other electricity projects for which special assistance was given include construction of a 220 KV sub-station at Kishanganj along with transmission lines, complete electrification of villages in 11 districts of and strengthening of sub-transmission systems across the state.    

Sanction order of Ministry of Finance for road-cum-rail project near Patna issued in 2016
Sanction order of Rs 1,766.53 crore issued a month after became CM in 2015
Sanction order of Rs 1,766.53 crore issued a month after Nitish Kumar became Bihar CM in 2015
Sanction order of Ministry of Finance for road-cum-rail project near Patna issued in 2016

First Published: Sat, July 29 2017. 11:30 IST