Two weeks after he countered Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s remarks on BSNL’s services during calamities, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Saran and a minister in the previous government, on Monday expressed displeasure over the government’s failure to promote tourist places in Bihar.
Rudy, a BJP national spokesperson, even challenged Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel’s statement over the submission of a proposal by Bihar government, saying he would table the copy of the proposal in Lok Sabha.
The Saran MP said that despite his repeated requests, the government had not taken any step to develop the Sonepur cattle fair and a dolphin sanctuary in Saran. “When I wrote to the minister for the first time, he said there needs to be a tourism circuit. I did not even know that there were government funds for eco-tourism. Today, from the reply I came to know that around Rs 500 crore has been spent on eco-tourism in eight states. But I have always told the government that Bihar has not got any money in the name of eco-tourism or any other categorisation,” he said.
Rudy said Saran, where Ganga, Gandak and Ghaghara rivers merge, has endangered dolphins and the country’s largest cattle fair is held in Sonepur, but they have failed to get the ministry’s attention.
“The minister has given a reply on July 1. I have been roaming around with these kinds of notes, but I don’t understand in which office of the Indian government, these notes vanish?” he said, adding that he gave another letter on the issue on March 9, 2018.
“Whenever I go to an official, they open a fresh file and cite rules to state why the proposal of Bihar government is pending.”
Rudy pointed out that the ministry keeps changing names of the tourism projects — he said that in the July 1 response, the project was called Swadesh Darshan and in Monday’s reply, the term was eco-tourism. “You call it any name you want, but please consider the proposal for these two,” Rudy said.
The Tourism Minister said that proposals for all development projects have to come from state governments and these have to come with a detailed project report. The central government, he said, has received only applications and no DPRs.
This appeared to annoy Rudy, who stood up and said he had submitted a DPR too and if the officials did not bring it under the consideration of the minister, then it was a matter of privilege against officials concerned.
Later, Rudy told mediapersons that the department tried to evade the question, saying there was no proposal from Bihar. “They got into trouble with that. I had the letter of the state government and the copy of the proposal, “ he said. The Saran MP said that he hoped the officials would take the matter seriously.
Another BJP MP Hema Malini, Lok Sabha member from Mathura, also expressed displeasure over the delay in implementing promised projects under the tourism ministry. She said there has been no action on the development of Mathura, Vrindavan and adjoining areas under the ministry’s Krishna Circuit.
Recently, Rudy countered Prasad, Union Minister for Communications, in Lok Sabha. When Prasad said that during calamities, only state-run telecom operators provide free services, Rudy stood up and said private operators too extend free services.