Bihar divided over special grant to state

Patna, April 19 (IANS) Bihar’s political parties are divided over the central government’s special grant of Rs.12,000 crore for the state, with the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) saying it was not a political move.

On Thursday, the union cabinet decided to continue the special plan for Bihar in the remaining four years (2013-14 to 2016-17) of the 12th Five Year Plan, with a total allocation of Rs.12,000 crore.

JD-U leaders said this was just 60 percent of the demand made by the state government to enhance the special grant to Rs.20,000 crore.

“It is a fact that the central government has fulfilled 60 percent of our demand,” JD-U state president Vashsht Narain Singh said.

He said the grant had “nothing to do with the latest political development” — a reference to the spat between Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar of Bihar and Narendra Modi of Gujarat.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the central government’s announcement under the Backward Region Grant Fund “is not a new special package”.

State Congress president Ashok Choudhary thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for facilitating the grant.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal and Lok Janshakti Party termed it a good move to help Bihar.

The central government had recently assured Nitish Kumar that his demand for special status for the state would be considered.

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