Economists support extra package to Bihar

ADRI,Asian Development Research Institute`s member secretary Shaibal Gupta has welcomed the Centre`s largesse of Rs 21,614 crore to West Bengal but wondered why Bihar has been left to fend for itself.

“Possibly the history of two centuries is being reversed for old Bengal Presidency. But such a largesse should have been extended to other units of the old Presidency,” the economist and social scientist said and termed the consistent neglect of Bihar, the most deserving among them, as “ironical”.

Gupta said Bihar has been one of the poorest parts of the erstwhile Bengal Presidency. Even after Independence, Bihar was not only subjected to division but has also regularly faced natural calamities like flood and drought, he said.

He pointed out that Bihar regularly presented petitions to the Centre for financial compensation, but every time the request was turned down. “Even the plea for special category status to the state has fallen on deaf ears though it would not involve much extra cost,” Gupta said and called upon the people of the state to rise as one voice to reverse these wrongs.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar has also gone on record to say that he is not against Centre`s package to any state, be it West Bengal or Chhattisgarh. “But Bihar`s pleas should also be heard. If not, this is political discrimination. It shows the Centre has two standards — one for the state governments led by the Congress or its allies and another for those helmed by non-Congress parties,” Kumar said.

JD-U MP Ranjan Prasad Yadav raised the issue of special package to Bihar in the Lok Sabha on Friday through a private member bill and lamented that the Centre obliged the Mamata Banerjee government of West Bengal but ignored Bihar`s five-year-old demand.