Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s Rs 20,000-crore solar light scheme draws opposition’s ire

By: |
August 18, 2021 1:58 PM

RJD national spokesperson Subodh Kumar said while panchayat elections are not contested on party lines, the timing to invite technical bids for solar lights in every panchayat is wrong.

Panchayati Raj minister in Nitish Government Samrat Choudhary said that the existing 12 watt lights are inadequate and 20 watt lights will be installed to illuminate streets.

With the much-awaited Bihar Panchayat polls round the corner, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced a Rs 20,000 crore solar light scheme. The Bihar government has already floated tenders for installing 10 solar lights each in over 8,300 panchayats and 143 urban bodies. The scheme would cost the exchequer Rs 20,000 crore.

However, the move has not gone down well with the opposition RJD which questioned the timing of the decision. It said that at a time when the previous solar light scheme was marred with corruption allegations against mukhiyas and other panchayat-level representatives, what was the need for a similar scheme.

RJD national spokesperson Subodh Kumar said while panchayat elections are not contested on party lines, the timing to invite technical bids for solar lights in every panchayat is wrong. He said that the move may influence polls. “All political parties indirectly back candidates in panchayat polls in their bid to strengthen their grassroots support… this scheme has been reeking of corruption,” said Kumar.

He said that the party would go to the Election Commission demanding that the technical bidding process for the scheme be halted for now.

However, Panchayati Raj minister Samrat Choudhary said that the existing 12 watt lights are inadequate and 20 watt lights will be installed to illuminate streets.

The Bihar Panchayati Raj Department had asked all district magistrates to invite bids for putting up the solar lights in June this year. Panchayat polls have been a stage for the JD(U) and the RJD to strengthen their base and mobilize the party cadre. The BJP has announced its support to JD(U) candidates in the urban local bodies polls.

The Election Commission has announced panchayat elections dates in Bihar. It will hold polls in 11 phases starting September 24 with the last phase polls to be held on December 12.

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