PATNA: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s much-flaunted war on corruption has gone for a toss once again, thanks to the sudden collapse of a dam just ahead of its inauguration.
It was over the issue of corruption that chief minister Nitish Kumar had broken away from the RJD last and formed a new government with the BJP in July last.
However, his mysterious silence over the collapse of Rs 389-crore dam during its trial run in Bhagalpur on Tuesday has raised a big question mark over Nitish Kumar’s claim on corruption.
While the chief minister has gone silent, his colleague and water resources minister Lalan Singh is now blaming the previous government for its collapse saying the said portion of the dam which collapsed during train run was “constructed 20 years back”, in an oblique reference to the RJD government.
The opposition parties took a dig at the chief minister’s much-flaunted claim of zero tolerance on corruption and questioned his silence over the issue.
“The chief minister talks very big over the issue of corruption but when the dam collapsed due to rampant corruption in his government, he himself has gone silent. Why it’s so that the chief minister doesn’t take cognizance of the corruption in the water resources department? What are the compulsions that force him keep his eyes shut?” asked Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav.
Water resources department is headed by Lalan Singh, known as a close “friend” of chief minister Nitish Kumar. “It’s this kind o relationship between them which prevents the chief minister ignore the corruption in the water resources department,” quipped a RJD leader.
Curiously enough, the dam in question which collapsed during the trial run was scheduled to be inaugurated by the chief minister himself.
The state government had issued major ads in local newspapers in view of the proposed inauguration but the sudden collapse hurriedly prompted the chief minister to cancel its inauguration.
“The country wants to know how the ‘rats’ have become corrupt in the present government. They are now nibbling even the dams made of concrete and stones,” mocked Tejashwi who was the deputy chief minister in the previous Grand Alliance government.
What he, as such, means by his “rat” remark is to remind the masses about how the same water resources minister had earlier blamed rats for weakening river embankments quite many of which were washed away by the floodwaters during recent Bihar floods.
He also ridiculed the “zero tolerance” claim of the chief minister. “Large-scale corruption worth thousands of crores is taking place every day before the chief minister of ‘zero tolerance’ fame but it’s strange that he continues beating up drums of his honesty,” wonders Tejashwi.
His father and RJD president lalu Prasad launched even more scathing attack on the Nitish Kumar government over the dam collapse.
“The dam collapsed like ‘batasa’ (a kind of sweet prepared by using sugar). This time, the Nitish Kumar government must tell the masses that it was broken by crocodiles,” he derided.
Earlier the chief minister had come under fire for his alleged delay in ordering an inquiry into the infamous Bhagalpur-based NGO, Srijan scam in which many politicians and bureaucrats are said to be involved.
The inquiry was ordered only this year whereas the scam was traced in 2013 itself by various government agencies, such as CAG and RBI, according to reports in the local media.