New Delhi, Sep 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday slammed previous governments in Bihar for indulging in "vote bank politics" and catering to their "selfish interests" over governance, and lauded Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's rule, as he launched seven urban infrastructure projects worth Rs 541 crore in the poll-bound state.
Modi inaugurated four projects under 'Namami Gange' Yojana and 'Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation' (AMRUT) in the state, and laid foundation stones for water supply and riverfront projects at a virtual ceremony attended by Kumar, his deputy Sushil Modi and a number of Union ministers.
The state had "politically, socially and economically strong cities" along the Ganga river once upon a time, but they were degraded during a long era of "slavery", the prime minister said. While the state had tall and visionary leaders for some decades after Independence but an era came when focus shifted from governance, he said.
Either they were not tackling the basic problems in Bihar or the development-related works became part of various scams, Modi said in an apparent attack on Lalu Prasad's RJD, which ruled the state for 15 years, and some Congress governments preceding it. When "selfish interests" overtake governance and "vote bank politics" come into play, then it is the marginalised and deprived who are the worst affected, Modi said.
People of Bihar have endured this pain for decades when the basic needs like water and sewerage were not met, he said, asserting that the Centre is working in coordination with the state government for the overall development of the state and boost ease of living by providing clean drinking water and launching sewerage treatment plants to clean the water of Ganga.
He said in the last four to five years, lakhs of families in the state were provided access to clean drinking water. Noting that over 20 Bihar towns are situated near Ganga, Modi said more than 50 projects of over Rs 6,000 crore had been approved in the state to keep the holy river clean.
Assembly polls in Bihar are likely to be held in October-November. Modi said 'Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan' has played a big role in providing water connections to more than 57 lakh families in the rural areas in Bihar even in the last few months of the coronavirus pandemic due to the work of the migrant labourers. He said the work for providing clean water to 12 lakh families in urban areas is also fast progressing and out of this about six lakh families have already been provided connections.
Noting that earlier development in urban sector meant upgrading a few aspects of life in some big cities, he said his government has taken a holistic view and is working to develop entire urban space. He added that the cities should be such that everyone, especially our youth, get new and limitless possibilities to move forward, and where every family can live life with prosperity and happiness.