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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Nitish announces Rs 20,000 crore solar light scheme ahead of Bihar panchayat polls

The opposition RJD has questioned the government's decision as the previous solar light scheme was marred with corruption charges being levelled against mukhiyas and other panchayat-level representatives.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna |
Updated: August 18, 2021 5:31:31 am
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar

Three months before the panchayat polls scheduled in the state, the Bihar government has invited tenders for putting up 10 solar lights each in over 8,300 panchayats and 143 urban bodies.

The scheme would be executed at a cost of about Rs 20,000 crore.

The opposition RJD has questioned the government’s decision as the previous solar light scheme was marred with corruption charges being levelled against mukhiyas and other panchayat-level representatives.

RJD national spokesperson Subodh Kumar said: “Even though panchayat polls are not contested on party lines, it is a wrong time to invite technical bidding for putting up solar lights in every panchayat. It is a way to influence polls. All political parties indirectly back candidates in panchayat polls in their bid to strengthen their grassroot support… this scheme has been reeking of corruption.”

The RJD spokesperson said they would also write to the Election Commission of India to hold a technical bidding process for the scheme.

Panchayati Raj minister Samrat Choudhary, however, said, “The existing 12 watt light is not good enough, a 20 watt light would be installed to illuminate streets. It is an ongoing scheme.”

The Bihar Panchayati Raj department in June had asked all district magistrates to invite bidding for putting up the solar lights.

The JD(U) has been focussing on panchayat polls since 2006 to build its party cadre.

BJP has also announced that they would support candidates in the urban local bodies’ polls.

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