New Delhi, Dec. 7: Chief minister Arjun Munda today met President Pranab Mukherjee and urged him to ask the Centre to amend Bihar Reorganisation Act, 2000, and enable Jharkhand to share pension liabilities with the parent state on the basis of population rather than number of government employees.
The state government has been miffed at the Centre after the Union home ministry ordered Jharkhand on September 25 to reimburse Rs 2,584.09 crore to Bihar as pension dues under the act, which was based on the ratio of government employees. Challenging the ministry's decision, Jharkhand moved the Supreme Court, which declined to stay the state's plea on October 18.
Munda, who was in the capital en route to the US on a personal trip, remained tight-lipped on the discussions he had with the President.
However, a source close to him said Munda argued that if all the states formed under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, had their liabilities fixed on the basis of population, the same policy should be adopted in case of the pension row, too.
Notably, the population ratio between Bihar and Jharkhand is 3:1 against an employee ratio of 2:1.
The pension row dates back to 2000 when Jharkhand was carved out from Bihar. The Bihar government spent a sum of Rs 5,334.38 crore for meeting pension liabilities of employees who had moved to the state from Bihar. The state later sought central intervention directing Jharkhand to share the expenditure.
Sources in the Bihar government said as the state had to bear an expenditure of Rs 2,371.54 crore, it had demanded that this amount, too, be paid by Jharkhand.
Following the Centre's direction to Jharkhand, top state functionaries have been refusing to comply with it. Subsequently, Bihar has urged that if its neighbour does not pay its share, the amount should be adjusted from Jharkhand's share in central funds.
Munda also raised the issue of de-allocation of coal blocks in Jharkhand today. "The CM pointed out that the Centre's decision following recommendations of the inter-ministerial group to de-allocate coal blocks to Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation will be detrimental to the state, as it will incur heavy losses," the aide told The Telegraph.