Gaya: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday asserted that his government was committed to providing basic amenities such as toilet, power connection and safe drinking water to every household and added that the top priority would be given to those places with a higher concentration of SCs and STs.
Besides, the government would also ensure that every locality in the state had "pucca" (metallic) roads and a drainage system, he said.
The JD(U) chief made it clear that while all households and localities would be provided with these facilities, the "top priority" would be accorded to those areas that had a higher population of members of scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) communities.
He was addressing a public meeting at a village in the Tekari block of the district, where he launched the fifth phase of his statewide "Vikas Samiksha Yatra" (tour to review the progress of the development plans on the ground).
At the meeting, Kumar also inaugurated and laid foundation stones for 225 schemes, worth Rs 506 crore.
He also cautioned the people against the "mischief- mongers, who may try to provoke you by saying -- look, other localities are getting the benefits, while yours is left out".
The chief minister's statement came in the backdrop of a January 12 incident at Buxar, where stones were hurled at his cavalcade reportedly by a group of Dalits who wanted to draw his attention towards the lack of amenities in their localities.
The ruling JD(U)-BJP combine in the state has charged the RJD with "using the Dalits" to cause disruptions at Kumar's function, while the opposition party has criticised the government for arresting people in connection with the incident, "instead of listening to the Dalits' grievances".
"Providing these amenities is a part of our 'Saat Nishchay' (seven resolves) programme. It was a daunting task which no big, centralised scheme could achieve.
"Hence, we involved the panchayats and urban local bodies and asked them to target two-three wards under their jurisdiction in a year, with the localities having a greater population of SCs and STs being accorded the top priority", the chief minister said.
"This way, we will cover every nook and corner of the state in four years. But this can not be ensured if I remain in Patna. Hence, I embark on such tours and will continue to do so," he said in an oblique reference to the RJD leaders.
It maybe recalled that former deputy chief minister and current Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Tejashwi Yadav had belittled Kumar's frequent yatras.
Reiterating his government's commitment to ensuring development with justice and introducing social reforms, "without which the fruits of progress cannot reach all", Kumar exhorted the people to wholeheartedly take part in a statewide human chain to be formed on January 21.
The proposed human chain, meant to send across a message against dowry and child marriage, will be formed exactly a year after a similar initiative at the instance of the chief minister to affirm the state's commitment to the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol.