BETTIAH: Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, minister of state for communications and railways Manoj Sinha presented a bouquet of ‘Sabka vikas’ from the Centre in Champaran in celebration of the Satyagrah centenary year here on Saturday.
“Champaran made Mohan Das the Mahatma. It is our responsibility to develop this region in this centenary year of his Satyagrah,” he said. He released the first day cover of three philatelic stamps commemorating the Champaran Satyagrah centennial.
Sinha inaugurated internet services at 100 mbps speed in Nautan, Yogapatti and Bettiah blocks of West Champaran and in Areraj and Ghorasahan blocks of East Champaran that have so far been connected with the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN). He congratulated the digitally empowered villagers via video-conference.
“By December 2018, all the 2.5 lakh panchayats in the country will be connected with NOFN,” he said and added from now on, 300 villages would be connected every day.
Sinha thanked external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for her help in setting up a Passport Seva Kendra at the Bettiah head post office. Refuting allegations of poor service by BSNL, Sinha said BSNL no longer stood for ‘bhai sahib nahi lagega’. “BSNL now means ‘behtar sewa, nai lagan’,” he said, adding that it had made a turnaround from being in deficit to generating profits.
The minister further announced the postal department, with help from PNB, will set up Post Payment banks throughout Bihar by September this year. “Rural dak-sewaks will be given hand-held devices soon,” he said.
Earlier, the minister laid the foundation of several projects by remote control at the Bettiah railway station. These include a railway overbridge at Bettiah, freight terminals at Kumarbagh and Ramgarhwa, and foot overbridges at Adapur and Raxaul stations. He also initiated a Rs 300-crore project of electrification of the Valmikinagar-Narkatiaganj and Sugauli-Muzaffarpur (including Sugauli-Raxaul) rail sections, covering a 228-km rail route.
The minister inaugurated improved passenger amenities at the Bettiah station which was also declared to become a ‘Green’ railway station with LED lights. “Earlier the railways used to spend Rs 1,000 crore on projects in Bihar. Now, we are spending Rs 4,000 crore every year,” he said, promising to soon introduce trains from North Bihar to Patna.
MPs Sanjay Jaiswal, Satish Chandra Dubey and Anil Sahni in addition to MLAs Madan Mohan Tiwary, Bhagirathi Devi, Vinay Bihari, Prakash Rai, Pramod Kumar and Dhirendra Pratap Singh were also present.