PM to take up Bihar spl status case
PATNA: The pressure of 1.25 crore signatures of the people demanding special category status to Bihar worked on Thursday when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met a JD(U) delegation and promised to bring forth the issue before the next meeting of the National Development Council (NDC).
A contingent of party leaders led by state party chief Vashisth Narayan Singh along with a busload of signatures reached Delhi on Wednesday after traversing through Bihar, UP and Haryana covering a distance of over 1,000 km in 80 hours.
The six-member delegation headed by JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav met the PM at his office in South Block and submitted a memorandum demanding special status to Bihar. Other members of the delegation were Ram Sundar Das and Ranjan Prasad Yadav, leader and deputy leader of the party in Lok Sabha respectively, secretary general K C Tyagi, Bihar JD(U) president Vashisht Narayan Singh and Rajya Sabha member RCP Singh, who was coordinator of the signature yatra for special status.
“The PM heard us patiently and said the matter will be put up and discussed at the NDC meeting,” Ranjan Yadav told TOI from Delhi. The NDC is the only forum where issue relating to grant of special category status is discussed and finalized.
During the 40-minute meeting, Sharad Yadav pleaded before the PM about Bihar’s claim for the status saying the state fulfils almost all the criterion to join the group of 11 states presently enjoying this privilege.
The states tagged with special category are Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Uttaranchal.
The delegation took the busload of signatures up to Mahavir Chowk, not far from South Block.
During the meeting, Sharad Yadav pleaded that in view of the poor condition of the backward state, the PM should take initiative to help it out. He referred to the Centre’s refusal to reimburse the expenses on the repair of the national highways in Bihar, state’s perennial problem of floods and poor infrastructure.
The delegation reminded the PM that Bihar shares 700-km-long border with Nepal and has lowest per capita power consumption.
The signature yatra, comprising two dozen SUVs and three buses carrying 125 selected partymen, was flagged off from here by chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday. The signatures were collected over a period of about 12 months from people belonging to all sections of society.