Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government ensures the schemes launched by it are implemented within a time limit, unlike in the past when projects were announced “during election time” and forgotten later.
Modi deplored “the thinking of many political leaders” that projects like roads were not meant for the poor. “We can not imagine the extent to which this mindset has damaged the country.”
The prime minister was addressing a gathering after launching development projects relating to highways and sewage treatment in Mokama, about 100 km from Bihar capital Patna.
Bihar Governor Satyapal Malik, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Ram Vilas Paswan were among those present at the programme.
Modi began his nearly 30-minute speech in Magahi dialect and praised the people of Mokama. He recalled the city’s connection with the mythological warrior sage Parashuram.
He also recalled the contributions of poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and Bihar’s first Chief Minister Shri Krishna Singh, pointing that both of them hailed from Begusarai “just across the Ganges”.
Underscoring his government’s commitment to boost inland water transport, Modi said during the British era, “when we had excellent waterways, Mokama was known as ‘mini Kolkata’. We must revive the lost glory”.
“My government is working tirelessly to provide better road, rail and internet connectivity and power connections and potable water to all. We have launched many schemes with these specific targets in mind,” he said.
The prime minister said his government “launches schemes keeping a roadmap ready” and “ensures implementation within time limit”, unlike past regimes, “which were in the habit of announcing projects during election time, only to forget about these later”.
Extending his greetings for Diwali on October 19, and Chhath – Bihar’s most celebrated festival which falls six days later, Modi said “once the Ganges is cleansed of pollutants, for which we have launched a special project called ‘Namami Gange’, it would be a real delight to observe the austerities of Chhath”.
Modi lauded Gadkari, who holds the surface and transport ministry, for expanding India’s road network. He also had a word of praise for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar “for his cooperation and his concern for the initiatives taken by the Centre”.
Kumar urged Modi to undertake key projects like a bridge parallel to the ‘Vikramshila Setu’ over the Ganges in Bhagalpur and a direct road connecting Buxar with Varanasi, which is the prime minister’s parliamentary constituency.
He also recalled his connection with Mokama, which forms a part of the Barh Lok Sabha seat, which he has represented a number of times in the parliament.
This was Modi’s first Bihar visit since the BJP return to the coalition with the JD(U) in Bihar in July this year.
Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, a BJP leader, said this was the “first time in 27 years when the same dispensation rules both at the Centre and in Bihar.”
“To use an expression of the prime minister, Bihar now has two engines to propel it on the path towards progress,” Sushil Modi said.
Earlier in the day, the prime minister attended a function held to celebrate 100 years of establishment of Patna University followed by a brief, unscheduled visit to the newly-opened Bihar Museum.