Patna, May 25: Rejecting criticism that the Centre was repackaging old schemes in its assistance to Bihar, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today asked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to focus more on fulfilling his own promises of making it a surplus power state.
Inaugurating the construction office of the ambitious Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline, Pradhan said the NDA government has already started delivering on its promises for Bihar.
"By starting this gas pipeline (office) the Modi government has started delivering benefits to people of Bihar ... He (Nitish) should bother about himself as people would ask him about his promise to provide surplus power to the state..." said the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas. [Trans-Afghan gas pipeline may become a reality: Pradhan]
Pradhan took the potshots at Kumar for his statement on special financial assistance package to the state announced by Finance minister Arun Jaitley.
Kumar had stated that the NDA government was merely re-packaging old schemes in the name of special aid. Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Giriraj Singh and GAIL CMD BC Tripathi were among those present at the inaugural. [Nothing to worry about so far: Nitish on Janata merger]
To be executed by GAIL (Gas Authority of India Limited) and christened 'Urja Ganga', the pipeline will provide subsidised gas supply in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Pradhan said the gas pipeline network will cover 30,000 km in next five years and cost around Rs 11,000 crore.
"The Jagdishpur-Haldia natural gas pipeline will serve as the 'Energy Highway' to carry environment-friendly fuel to the four states battling energy shortage," Pradhan said.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always emphasised that energy was the basic requirement for boosting economic development of Eastern states and the pipleline project was a start in that direction.
About Kumar and the opposition flaying the Modi government for linking economy with price of global crude oil, initially winning applause by lowering price of petrol when the international rate was down and thereafter increasing it with the global rates, Pradhan said the perception was not true.
"We have lowered the price of petrol and petroleum products more times than hiking it recently which was compelled by the sharp rise in international price," he said.
Pradhan said the pipe laying work will start from Patna in July and the project would be extended to Nepal in future to help the neighbouring country as well. The gas pipeline would cover nine districts of Bihar including Kaimur, Rohtas, Aurangabad, Gaya, Nalanda, Patna, Sheikhpura and Begusarai.