Once friends, and now his arch foes — rebel JD-U leader Sharad Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad — took pot shots at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday, accusing his government of massive corruption after a portion of an irrigation canal in Bhagalpur district collapsed hours before its inauguration.
“Three hundred and ninety crore rupees was spent on constructing the canal. And it broke a day before its inauguration, which proves the money meant for construction of the canal was looted,” Yadav told reporters in New Delhi.
A portion of the Rs 389.31-crore Bateshwarsthan Ganga Pump Canal Project collapsed on Tuesday evening in Bhagalpur district of Bihar, leading to inundation of residential areas and the National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) plant in Kahalgaon. JD-U President and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were forced to cancel his visit to the area on Wednesday for its inauguration.
The project was begun in 1996-97 and took years to get ready.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) accused the Bihar government of “criminal negligence” and demanded a high-level probe into the incident.
“Through the collapse of the dam, the hollowness of Bihar government’s modus operandi stands exposed,” RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha told IANS.
“It is a text book case of criminal negligence, which demands that the accountability must be fixed from the top. Nitishji has spent more time in political manipulation rather than addressing the pressing concerns of the people,” Jha added.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav took to Twitter and accused the Nitish Kumar government of rampant corruption and alleged that poor quality of construction led to its collapse.
According to state government officials, the canal was a joint scheme of Bihar and Jharkhand under which 18,620 hectares of land in Bhagalpur and 4,038 hectares in Godda district of Jharkhand would be irrigated.
The Planning Commission had approved the project in 1977 at an estimated cost of Rs 13.88 crore.