By S Ahmed (NVONews.Com)
The Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar’s ‘Sewa Yatra’ or the tour for service has put him in a little bit uncomfortable situation as for the first time opposition has raised some questions regarding the usefulness and effectiveness of such ‘yatras’.
The next phase of Nitish Kumar’s Sewa Yatra started on 20th April from East Champaran which has its headquarters at Motihari. Motihari is in the news for the proposed Central University of Bihar. While Nitish Kumar is persisting to open CUB in Motihari, the central HRD Minister Kapil Sibbal is in no mood to allow it there. Instead Mr. Sibbal is all set to get it opened in Gaya. So, political motive behind this tour could easily be ascertained.
Though the government claims that this ‘Sewa Yatra’ is meant for bringing the state machinery to the common people, the opposition leaders term it as an exercise in image-building at the cost of the poor people’s money.
Leader of opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui says that an estimated Rs. 100 crore were spent on the first phase of the ‘sewa yatra’ during November 2011 to January 2012.
Mr. Siddiqui alleges that wherever Chief Minister Nitish Kumar goes during his ‘Sewa Yatra’ around Rs. Fifty thousand is spent only on his food.
He claims that Rs. 1,50,000 is allocated by the concerned department to the circuit houses of the districts to change the bedsheets and towels in chief minister’s room. He asks that how the Chief Minister of a poor state can spend so lavishly. The expenditure on renovation and decoration is not included here.
Mr. Siddiqui wanted to know the account of expenditure incurred on the other things like the helicopter and the travel allowances of senior officers.
The leaders close to Nitish Kumar claims that ‘Sewa Yatra’ keeps the districts officials on toes to work for common people. During this yatra thousands of people gather to hand over their applications. But the redressal rate of those applications has always been questioned.
Government sources accept that more than a million such applications are still pending. On the other hand government officials also claim that those applications are not in the process to be disposed off. Television channels show live programs of Nitish Kumar’s Sewa Yatra and the newspapers deploy special representatives to cover this event.
Political observers point out that this sewa yatra has become a tool for the Chief Minister to showcase himself while works at the secretariat back in Patna gets badly hit during those days.
This is time for the local civic bodies and this yatra would be seen in this background. Election commission of Bihar would keep a close tab on Nitish Yatra though the chief minister and his team of officials are not naive to do anything which can earn the wrath of the election commission.