Dumka, Sept. 16: Babulal Marandi has blamed the then BJP-ruled central government for additional expenses incurred by the state for completing railway projects during his tenure as the chief minister.
Speaking to reporters onboard the Jasidih-Dumka passenger train, the JVM president rubbished allegations levelled against him by BJP leaders — including Godda MP Nishikant Dubey — for bearing 67 per cent of the total costs of railway projects in Jharkhand when he was at the helm.
The BJP has alleged that Marandi had spent more than the stipulated 50 per cent of the costs from the state exchequer. However, Marandi said Nitish Kumar, the then railway minister, and Yashwant Sinha (finance) in the Vajpayee cabinet, were to blame.
The JVM chief said he was instrumental in getting the Centre’s approval to railway projects in Santhal Pargana and other parts of Jharkhand in 1998 after he elected as an MP from Dumka on a BJP ticket and made a Union minister.
Marandi alleged that Nitish was adamant to help execute the projects estimated at Rs 2,000 crore while Sinha refused to allocate additional funds. Earlier, Marandi boarded the train at Deoghar for his maiden journey along the, that became functional this July. He also demanded early completion of Dumka-Rampurhat and Mandarhil-Dumka extension lines.
which were initially slated to complete by 2005, besides introduction of new trains, basic amenities to the passengers and new coaches to trains on this route.
“If necessary, my party will launch an agitation to press for these demands,” he added.
Referring to the Munda government, he said that unlike the Madhu Koda regime, when the chief minister and a few ministers were sent to jail, the entire cabinet at present should be put behind bars for indulging in corrupt practices.
He reiterated that contracts for construction of crucial road projects were handed to private companies without floating tenders and at exorbitant rates.
“There were instances where a private firm was awarded the contract for a Rs 241-crore four lane road project at Rs 16 crore per km while the National Highways Authority of India is engaged in a similar project charging Rs 7 crore per km,” Marandi added.