National

Opposition slams Nitish govt. over human chain

The State has pulled out all the stops to ensure the event makes it to the Guinness Book of Records

Opposition parties in Bihar slammed the Nitish Kumar-led coalition government on Saturday over the potential “huge waste of money” on a human chain to be organised on January 19. The event aims to spread awareness about climate change, prohibition and social ills including dowry and child marriage.

The State government has planned for the world’s longest human chain of 16, 298 kms across all districts from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Earlier in 2017 and 2018 also, the State government had organised such human chains and claimed that crores of people had participated.

“This year, too, we’re going to organize a human chain to be spread in over 16,000 kms and with participation of over four crore people…no human chain in the world has been so long,” said R.K. Mahajan, principal secretary of the State Education Department, which has been designated as the nodal department to organise the event.

Though the Department had issued instructions to all District Magistrates to ensure participation of school students and teachers in the proposed human chain, it issued a fresh directive saying “participation of students or teachers are not mandatory” after a group of teachers approached court.

Meanwhile, an Education Department official Vinodanand Jha told journalists that the human chain will be covered with the help of as many as 15 helicopters and professional photographers from Mumbai.

Pvt. firm hired

Sources in the government also told The Hindu that a considerable some of money is being spent to make ensure the event is a “mega success”.

“A private event management firm is said to have been hired from outside the State to organise it successfully and get its place in Guinness Book of World Records,” said a senior official involved in the planning.

When asked how much money has been earmarked, he said, “about ₹200 crore”.

During his Jal, Jeevan, Hariyali (water, life and greenery) campaign on climate change, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has, recently appealed to people to participate in the human chain in large numbers. School students, government officials, Jeevika members, Asha workers, Aanganwadi workers and party workers of NDA are to participate in the human chain. Patna’s historic Gandhi Maidan will be the origin of the chain from where it will move out in four directions.

The government has made elaborate security arrangements , with all District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police asked to maintain vigil; the special branch police have also been put on alert. Movement of heavy vehicles on the notified routes has been banned from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

‘Sheer drama’

However, the Opposition parties have slammed Nitish Kumar government for “huge waste of public money” in organizing human chain. “This is the climax of waste of public money and sheer drama…18 helicopters were not used even in flood relief but now they’re used for the photography of the human chain spending crores,” RJD chief Lalu Prasad said in a series of tweets.

Another senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari said, “Its all waste of huge public money for the publicity of Nitish Kumar and nothing else”.

Senior Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) leader Santosh Kumar said, “Nitish Kumar government should make human chain of unemployed youths to know their number in the State”. The state Congress leaders too echoed the same.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 11:19:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/opposition-slams-nitish-govt-over-human-chain/article30594894.ece

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