Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bihar leaders seek pie of industrial corridor

Central ministers hailing from Bihar, one of India's most backward states, want projects akin to the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) to pierce through their state, showering economic benefits.

Inspired by Commerce Minister Kamal Nath's success in getting the route of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor altered so that it passes through his home state of Madhya Pradesh, the ministers have demanded that a project similar to the USD 90 billion DMIC be designed for their state as well.

A top official source said ministers from Bihar have been assured that a similar corridor could be considered when the dedicated eastern rail freight corridor project is taken up.

"That is the next step, they were told," the source said. The DMIC project, conceptualised to benefit from the rail and road connectivity offered by Delhi-Mumbai Dedicated Rail Freight corridor, was to originally pass through five states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Later, on the intervention by Nath, who has been representing Chindwara constituency in Lok Sabha for the last 27 years, Madhya Pradesh was included in the project.

Though Nath succeeded in getting the industrial corridor, the rail route could not cover the state since the Japanese, key partners in the project, found it unviable, sources said.

Top central ministers from Bihar include Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta and Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

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