'Govt fails to get central assistance for rural poor'
New Delhi, May 3 : Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has criticised the Bihar government for failing to take advantage of the central scheme under which rural poor people, whose houses are gutted in fire, get financial assistance for its reconstruction by creating bureaucratic hurdles.
''I had written to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to send a list of people whose houses were gutted in fire so that the Centre could sanction money for their reconstruction. But instead of sending the list, the Chief Minister under influence of some bureaucrats has written back asking the centre to allocate the money in advance,'' Dr Singh told UNI.
He said it was not possible for the Centre to make advance allocation as the Government couldnot predict which state or district would have fire incidents and how many houses would get destroyed.
''We had launched the scheme last year to help the poor people whose houses get destroyed. Normally monetary relief and food supply for a week is given to such families, which is totally insufficient to mitigate their sufferings. Under the scheme, the state government could immediately reconstruct houses for these families and send their list to the Centre, which would allocate additional amount under the Indira Awas Yojna for such people,'' the minister said.
He said under the scheme there is a provision that the state government could use the money of other rural development schemes available with the district administration for reconstruction of the gutted houses and send the information regarding amount spent so that the Centre could allocate additional money.
The RJD leader felt that the bureaucratic machinery in Bihar is not very effective and always lagged behind in seeking money for the various schemes and spending them on time.
However, when the minister conveyed this by terming the Bihar and Jharkhand governments as ''failure'' in implementing rural development schemes during a review meeting recently, the Bihar Chief Minister became annoyed and said Dr Singh was not seeing the development work being carried out by the JD(U)-BJP government in the state.
''I assess all the states on the basis of their performance in terms of statistics regarding the money allocated and used by them for development schemes of the ministry. The Bihar government had failed in using the money allocated to it, so I had termed it a failure as far as Rural Development projects are concerned,'' Dr Singh said and added that the people of the state are also making an assessment of the performance of the state government.