Another quid pro quo for Bihar

Call it Centre’s ‘sop opera’, or the ‘return gift’ for the support he extended during Presidential election, the UPA government is more than magnanimous in meeting Nitish Kumar’s long-pending demands.

Close on the heels of granting two central universities to Bihar and a 20 per cent hike in Plan allocation, the Manmohan Singh-led Government has now doled out one more largesse to the JD (U) strongman. It has decided to supply coal on a tapering basis to support expansion of Barauni Thermal Power Station (BTPS). Besides, it has also decided to set up a 4000-MW ultra power project in the State to make it self-reliant in the energy sector. The Union Coal Ministry has asked Coal India to supply 23 lakh tonnes of coal every year from its stock to Bihar “under special circumstances”.

Earlier, the Centre had rejected Nitish’s repeated pleas for coal linkage for the
upcoming two units of BTPS, with generating capacity of 250 MWs each. Instead, the Centre in 2007 had allotted a coal block in Urma Pahari Tola (in Jharkhand) to Bihar to meet its requirement. But the Nitish regime turned down the offer on the ground that it would take much expertise and time to develop the block. Instead it asked for a coal linkage.

When it did not fructify for years, Nitish recently took up the issue with the Prime Minister and reiterated his demand.  The Centre gave its nod for coal linkage but at the same time also asked Bihar to develop the allotted Urma Pahari Tola coal block.
Besides, the Centre has sent a high-level technical team of officials from Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Power Finance Corporation (PFC) for site inspection in Bihar so that a 4000-MW ultra power project could be set up in the State.

Few would have imagined that warming up to Congress would bring so much of goodies to Bihar. 

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