Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today inaugurated an ambitious pump canal project at Kahalgaon town in the district which would cater to a vast strech of land within the state and neighbouring Jharkhand. The Bateshwar Nath Pump Canal Project, which has involved a cost of Rs 389 crore, was inaugurated by Kumar in presence of Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, Water Resources Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh and senior Congress leader and Kahalgaon MLA Sadanand Singh. The project would cater to a total area of 27,603 hectares of which 22,716 hectares are in Bihar and the remaining in Jharkhand. Notably, the project was scheduled for inauguration in September last, but the same was deferred following a breach in the canal which had inundated large tracts in the vicinity. Addressing a public meeting after the inauguration, Kumar blamed previous governments in the state for "inordinate delay in completion of the project which had begun in 1980". "Things are now looking up in the irrigation department though it is still plagued by problems like availability of land and shortage of engineers", the Chief Minister said. Kumar also spoke about his government's achievements in electricity and sanitation, besides measures adopted for administrative reforms. He also underscored the importance of social reform measures like ban on alcohol and awareness campaigns against dowry and child marriage. Speaking on the occasion, Sadanand Singh profusely thanked Kumar for ensuring completion of the project "of which the foundation stone was laid 38 years ago when I was the state irrigation minister". Meanwhile, speculations were triggered when Kumar, accompanied by Sushil Modi and Lalan Singh, visited the residence of Sadanand Singh and spent nearly half an hour chatting with the Congress leader and his family members. However, when his comments were sought on the Chief Minister's visit to his house, Singh told PTI "venomous detractors spread such rumours.
I have been in politics for close to five decades and remained a Congressman all through". "One should not mix up personal relationships with political ties. I have known Nitish, Sushil and Lalan since long and they respect me as someone who is their senior in politics", the Congress leader said.
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