Hajipur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday trained his guns on Congress accusing it of "neglecting" Bihar's development since independence and recalled Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's past association with NDA as he inaugurated a number of railway projects in Hajipur.
"This project was initiated when Nitish Kumar was Railway Minister and Atal ji was Prime Minister. The dream of that time is being realised now.
"Had this not been neglected in last 10 years and work been taken up for it even under routine budget, even then it
would have been completed in six-seven years," Modi said dedicating to the nation the newly constructed Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge here, which is stated to be the longest in the country.
He rued that the cost of the project escalated from its earlier estimate of Rs 600 crore to Rs 3,000 crore due to the "delay".
"This money belongs to people. Some or the other reasons crop up in our country that the process of development gets derailed," he said.
Leaving aside political rivalry, Modi who has shared a contentious relationship with Kumar in past, also chose the
occasion to laud the Bihar Chief Minister's efforts in taking forward Centre's rural electrification scheme in Bihar.
"I am grateful to Nitish ji. Work is progressing with speed in Bihar due to his efforts. If the Central government
and the Bihar government decisively work, we can finish the work fast and make a proud Bihar," he said.
Kumar had walked out of NDA snapping the 17-year-old ties with BJP over the deemed projection of Modi as prime
ministerial candidate of that party in June 2013.
After having lost badly to the Narendra Modi-led NDA in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Kumar staged a comeback in 2015 assembly elections in Bihar in alliance with Lalu Prasad's RJD and Congress, decimating BJP.
Holding that the "nerve centre" of India's development lies in eastern India, the Prime Minister said that he is of
the firm opinion that India as a country cannot develop fast without the development of it eastern part.
"Bihar is a priority for us because we feel Bihar's progress is key to India's progress. This government has spent more for the projects in Bihar in last two and half years than what was spent in five years earlier. This was done because it is my conviction that if India has to progress fast, Bihar's development has to be accelerated," he said.
Without naming Congress, Modi said that electricity has not reached 18,000 villages of the country even after 70 years of Independence.
"I told my officers that I have to do this work within 1,000 days, which was not done in last 70 years. One thousand days are yet to completed but electricity has already reached in 6,000 villages. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are going to benefit the maximum from it," he said.
Telling youths they have got a "big gift" as two locomotive factories are being opened in the state, Modi once again picked on the previous UPA government led by Congress.
"This matter is moving only on paper since 2006-07. It was being frequently mentioned in speeches but nothing was
happening on the ground. Nobody was ready to bid for it. We introduced some innovative things in the tender, fixed target for export and place the order according to the need of the country and prepared it in a manner that big companies of the world they can work in it.
"The process worked and big companies of the world came forward. Foreign Direct Investment of Rs 40,000 crore is
coming for these two factories, which will be the biggest in the country. This process has been completed within a short time of 18 months since our government came because developing Bihar is our priority," he said.
Modi also talked about other upcoming ambitious projects for the state including laying of piped natural gas line
despite huge expenditure involved in it and said that it is going to bring huge progress in the country.
It was the first mega event he was addressing in Bihar after BJP's debacle in Assembly polls last year.
"I can see how enthusiastic you are about the bridge and I can guess well how much improvement in transportation and economic situation of people, this will bring," he said adding the maximum work of this pending project, about 34 percent was completed in last 18 months when NDA government was at Centre.
Modi arrived in Bihar on Saturday to attend the closing ceremony of the Patna High Court centenary celebrations.
During the day-long event, he also inaugurated two rail-cum-road bridges in Patna and Munger, besides laying the
foundation for an additional rail bridge across the Ganga at Mokama.
"For India's sustainable development, it's important for India's eastern parts like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and North
Eastern states to develop...I am confident Centre and state governments will work shoulder to shoulder and achieve this," he said, adding that infrastructure, road and railways sow the seeds of development and give speed to progress.
Modi said while the government has to address the present needs of the people but at the same time there is also a need to create long term systems.
Insisting there has to be complete modernisation of the Railways, he listed a number of measures taken for this by the government and praised the efforts of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in this regard.
The Prime Minister also talked about his plans to provide gas connections to the poor families to help women and
introduction of Humsafar and Tejas train services besides attaching Deen Dayalu coaches in trains for non-reserved