Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Why is MGNREGA implementation so poor in Bihar, Congress asks PM

02:53 PM May 25, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday claimed that the crucial MGNREGA scheme falters whenever the BJP is in power in Bihar and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why its implementation has been so “poor” in the state.


Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posed the questions to Modi ahead of his rallies in Bihar’s Buxar and Karakat.

“Why are so many essential projects lying incomplete in Buxar? Why have farmers in Chausa been protesting against the BJP for more than 500 days? Why has MGNREGA implementation been so poor in Bihar?” Ramesh said.

The Congress general secretary said that in 2015, the “outgoing PM” had famously promised a Rs 1.25 lakh crore package for the people of Bihar and Rs 54,713 crore from this package was earmarked for road and bridge projects.

A number of national highways, bridges over the rivers Ganga, Sone and Kosi, and 12 railway overbridges were to be built, he said.


“As per the information given by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 27 of the 44 planned national highways are lying incomplete, while the remaining 17 haven’t even received detailed project reports (DPR). In addition, not a single brick has been laid for the Central University at the Vikramshila in Bhagalpur,” Ramesh said.

Even the Buxar thermal power plant, whose MoU was signed by the UPA government in 2013, has been sidelined, he claimed.

“After making such grand promises, why has the outgoing PM shamelessly neglected the people of Bihar?” Ramesh said.

He said farmers in Chausa have been protesting against the BJP government and a local public sector power company for more than 500 days.

In 2019, the company acquired 1,050 acres of land for the construction of a 1,320 MW power plant and promised to provide a job to each family whose land was acquired, he said.

“Five years later, farmers are not only without the promised jobs but many are yet to be compensated for the land they surrendered. Why have the BJP and the outgoing PM ignored the plight of Chausa’s farmers? How much longer will they have to protest to make their voices heard?” Ramesh said.

“In a state that faces such high levels of youth unemployment and rural distress, the MGNREGA is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of families,” he added.

“Yet, this crucial scheme falters whenever the BJP is in power in Bihar.”

“The approved labour budget for 2023-24 was 225 million person days, 25 million person days less than the year before, and the average days of employment provided per household fell from 47.16 to 43.85. Across Bihar, only 0.4 per cent of the 5.35 million families who demanded work were able to avail of the 100 days of employment guaranteed by the scheme,” he said.

“The Modi Sarkar is legally bound to guarantee 100 days of work and timely payment to MGNREGA beneficiaries. Is this sordid state of affairs the reality of ‘Modi ki Guarantee’?” Ramesh said and asked the PM to break his silence on these issues.

Earlier in the day, Ramesh asked Modi where funds for Patna’s Smart City and Namami Gange disappeared and why Patna University has been denied central university status.

He posed these questions to Modi ahead of his rally in Pataliputra.

“Where have Patna’s Smart City and Namami Gange funds disappeared? Will the Bihta airport ever be built? Why has the BJP failed to prevent yet another paper leak? Why has Patna University been denied central university status?” the Congress general secretary said in a post on X.

Six sewage treatment plants (STPs) and five new sewerage networks were sanctioned under these schemes but only four of the 11 projects have been completed, he said.

“According to a CAG report on the six plants under the Namami Gange project, ‘None of the six STPs and their networks are completed in their entirety, even as the executing agency, Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation, was sanctioned almost the entire cost of the projects, amounting to Rs 3,288.69 crore’,” Ramesh said.

Currently, all of Patna’s STPs combined have the capacity to treat only half of the city’s daily discharge, he said.

As a result, a significant portion of sewage, domestic and biomedical waste is being released directly into the Ganga, he claimed.

“Can the prime minister tell us why public money has been so poorly utilised?” Ramesh said.

He further said eight years after it was approved in 2016, there is no sign that the Bihta airport will ever be built.

States such as Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have received plenty of airports under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme but Bihar has been left behind, he claimed.

Ramesh also raised the issue of examination paper leaks and said it was found this month that the NEET-UG question paper was leaked to 20 aspirants in Patna.

“Under the Modi sarkar, paper leaks have become a regular occurrence. Neighbouring Uttar Pradesh has witnessed more than 40 paper leaks under BJP rule and Gujarat has emerged as the paper leak capital, from where leaks are orchestrated across the country,” he said.

Each paper leak takes a massive emotional toll on thousands, if not lakhs of young aspirants who prepare tirelessly for government exams, he said.

The Congress leader also claimed that in 2017, Modi “flat-out denied” Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s request to give central university status to Patna University.


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