Patna: With the strength of the Bihar Cabinet now reduced to just nine, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Tuesday said that he himself will look after 18 important departments.
Earlier, he was holding charge of just nine departments.
He will now handle Home, Finance, Cabinet Secretariat, General Administration, Vigilance, Election, Energy, SC and ST Welfare, Information and Public Relations, Disaster Management, Commercial Taxes, Building and Construction, Water Resources, Environment and Forests, Health, Sugarcane Industries, Backward and Extremely Backward Welfare, as well as Animal Husbandry and Fisheries departments.
The Chief Minister has also expanded the work of other colleagues by allotting them two additional departments apart from those previously held by them.
All these departments had fallen vacant after 20 Cabinet ministers had resigned on February 7.
On the re-allocation of departments, Principal Secretary (Cabinet Coordination) B Pradhan said, "We received a letter from Principal Secretary to Governor's Secretariat today about allocation of portfolio to the ministers. Each minister has been given two additional departments, while the remaining have been kept by the Chief Minister."
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh, who is close to Manjhi, has been given additional charge of Food and Civil Supplies as well as Excise and Registration departments.
Science and Technology, Law and IT Minister Shahid Ali Khan will also look after Minority Welfare and Minor Irrigation departments, he said.
Art, Culture and Youth Affairs Minister Vinay Bihari has been given additional charge of Tourism and Cooperative departments. Urban Development and Housing Minister Samrat Chaudhary has been additionally given Mines and Geology and Planning and Development departments.
Education Minister Brishin Patel will also handle transport and parliamentary affairs departments, while Industries Minister Bhim Singh will look after rural works and road construction departments, he said.
Rural Development Minister Nitish Mishra has been given additional charge of Eevenue and Land Reforms, and Panchayati Raj departments. Public Health Engineering Department Minister Mahachandra Prasad Singh has been given Social Welfare and Labour Resources departments as well, he added.
Highly places sources in the government said the portfolio allocation was made after Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi did not permit Manjhi to expand the Cabinet.