"A special category status is must for development of Bihar," he said, adding the demand was old but constantly ignored by the central government.
"All of us, including ruling and opposition leaders, from Bihar have been demanding the centre grant special category status to Bihar for years but the long-standing demand was rejected till date," he said.
Nitish Kumar said there was great public support for the demand and the state assembly passed a resolution April 13, 2006, demanding Bihar be accorded special status.
Contending that it was a known fact that Bihar had suffered huge financial losses arising out of bifurcation of state in 2000, he said special assistance from the Planning Commission was a rightful claim of the state.
The Bihar assembly sought a package of Rs 179,000 crore as compensation at the time of bifurcation of Bihar. Though the measure was backed by the then opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal-United too and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was in power in New Delhi (with Nitish Kumar himself the railway minister), the state was not granted the package.
Later on, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also ignored the demand despite former chief minister Lalu Prasad
and Ram Vilas Paswan being members of the ruling coalition.
Patna: Asserting that special status must be granted to Bihar for its development, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said a campaign will be intensified to put pressure on the central government to achieve this.
First Published: Monday, March 14, 2011, 23:03