Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Media on Nitish hit-list


July 26, 2011
Manoj Chaurasia / The Statesman

PATNA, 26 JULY: Bihar chief minister Mr Nitish Kumar, apparently ebullient after almost wiping out the entire Opposition in last year’s Assembly election, seems to have on his hit-list the media for “exposing” the failures and alleged irregularities being committed by the government in the Opposition-less Bihar.

That the government wants to “rein in” the vocal media became clear here yesterday when the Bihar chief secretary, Mr Anup Mukherjee, in his report to the chief minister, suggested initiating “legal action” against some media persons who reported the alleged land scam.

Outright denying any irregularities in the allotment of prime industrial land to the kin of the ministers, lawmakers and bureaucrats, the chief secretary said the allotments were made as per rules, and not under any political and administrative pressure.

The chief secretary had been asked by the chief minister to inquire into the alleged irregularities in land allotment to certain influential people in the government after a news channel broke the story and the Opposition lapped up the issue which led to frequent ruckus in the week-long Assembly session which concluded last week.

“In recent years, many industrialists have shown interest in Bihar but some news channels were trying to block the progress of the state by getting engaged in ‘smear campaign’ and ‘baseless reporting’. Their exposes smack of conspiracy and hence legal action needs to be taken against such media to frustrate their ulterior motive”, the chief secretary has mentioned in his 18-page probe report submitted to the chief minister yesterday.

To quote the chief secretary, “…Is prakar ke dushprachar se rajya ki pragati badhit karane ka asafal prayas kiya ja raha hai. Aise prayason ko rokane ke liye kargar vidhi sammat karvaii bhi honi chahiye”.

Not only that, a minister in the Nitish Kumar government has also filed a criminal case against a news channel which reported the land scam “scoop” now termed as “baseless” in the chief secretary’s probe report.

The case has been filed in the court of the chief judicial magistrate, Patna by the HRD minister and former advocate-general Mr PK Sahahi whose daughter was accused of getting land plot from the government allegedly cashing in on his father’s political stature.

Earlier, the JD-U member in the Rajya Sabha and party spokesman Mr Shivanand Tiwari had called for such action against the “irresponsible reporting” by the media at a formal Press conference.

The government looks to have hardened its posture towards the media after it widely reported this alleged land scam story and then CAG report which revealed government’s poor fund management and “under-assessment or loss of revenue of Rs 2,399.68 crore in various commercial departments in Bihar during 2009- 10”.

Modi slams Opp on land issue
Patna, 26 July: Bihar deputy chief minister Mr SK Modi today slammed the Opposition for raising an “unnecessary” controversy over allotment of land by the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority and said the report of chief secretary Mr Anup Mukherjee showed there was no irregularity.

“The Opposition is making a non-issue an issue. RJD, LJP, and Congress are raising unnecessary controversy over the allotment of land,” Mr Modi told reporters. p

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