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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today expressed displeasure over the cancellation of a power ministers' conference, scheduled in Rajgir last week, saying the decision to call off the event at the eleventh hour was "impractical" and had led to "embarrassment". The chief minister said, many of the delegates had already arrived by then in Rajgir and Patna and some of the delegates coming from Delhi were at the airport when they got the news of the conference being called off. "I think making the announcement of cancellation at the last moment was impractical. It caused embarrassment," Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of his weekly "Janta Durbar" programme here. The chief minister was responding to queries about the two-day conference, which was to be held on November 10-11 but was cancelled on November 9 due to "unavoidable circumstances". "As far as we were concerned, the Bihar government was just a facilitator for what was essentially a biennial event held by the Government of India. I too had just received an invitation to attend the inaugural function", he added. Kumar rubbished allegations of crores of rupees having been splurged by the state government on prepartions for the event, levelled by RJD supremo Lalu Prasad last week, and asked Principal Secretary, Power, Pratyay Amrit to share the details of the money spent. "Total expenditure on preparations for the event stood at Rs 1.90 crore.
Much of this was borne, as is the norm, by public sector undertakings coming under the Centre. The state government's share in the expenditure did not exceed Rs 15 lakh", Amrit said. Bulk of the expenditure by the state government related to providing boarding, lodging and conveyance facilities to power ministers, principal secretaries and secretaries of different states, who had been declared state guests, he added. To a query about speculations that by cancelling the conference, the Narendra Modi government had deprived the Bihar government of an opportunity to host a grand event, state Power Minister Bijendra Yadav interjected saying, "we do not think the cancellation was caused by any ill-will. "But, of course, had the conference gone ahead, we would have got the credit. That opportunity, of course, we did not get".
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