Patna: The ongoing war of words between bitter foes the BJP and JD(U) escalated on Sunday with Bihar minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh slamming Sushil Kumar Modi for 'financial mismanagement' during his days as the state finance minister.
"If the pace of construction of roads and bridges has slackened in recent years, then Modi must take the blame on himself for failing in his capacity as the (then) finance minister," he told reporters a day after the senior BJP leader had castigated JD(U) government for tardy pace of construction of road infrastructure.
"It's a fact that construction of roads and bridges has lost momentum in the past couple of years, but it's also true that Modi's ministry (finance) in 2010 had issued a circular banning allocation of funds to 35 districts for construction of culverts and bridges costing less than Rs 25 lakh till these district settled AC/DC bills."
The restriction impinged on construction of culverts and bridges as the district administration could not be given funds for the purpose, he said.
The ban on quarrying by the mines and mineral department also hit road construction as the aggregates called stone chips and related raw materials were not easily available because the finance ministry under Sushil Modi had failed to arrange for rakes to ensure supply of such materials from outside Bihar, the Road Construction Department minister said.
Besides, the Land Acquisition Act passed by Parliament earlier this year has proved to be another stumbling block for road construction as steep compensation was fixed for acquisition of land by government or private parties, he said.
Now that JD(U) government has no longer to bear with obstructionist BJP ministers, various road blocks in the way of construction of roads and bridges have been removed by relaxing guidelines on quarrying and adjustment of AC/DC bills, he said.
Singh was reacting to Modi's jibe at the JD(U) government for tardy pace of road development on the basis of a World Bank report recently.
The RCD minister said the former deputy chief minister's assertions were only partly true.
But the World Bank had raised concern on slow pace of road construction for those projects being funded by the Centre under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and related schemes which proved the JD(U) government's charge that the central government has been discriminating against Bihar in sanction of funds for road infrastructure.
Slamming Sushil Modi for allegedly 'seeking cheap publicity' by addressing press conferences on a daily basis or issuing press releases on the basis of newspapers' in-put to malign the JD(U) government, Singh regretted that the former deputy chief minister was not conducting himself with grace or dignity.
"He (Modi) aspires to be the chief minister of Bihar one day, but does not conduct himself with grace or dignity as any leader aspiring to become CM will not react to newspapers' report on any issue and make a statement as a matter of routine," the minister added.