Development, transparency will be my focus: Chhattisgarh chief minister (Interview)

January 1st, 2009 - 1:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRaipur, Jan 1 (IANS) Development is the key word for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Chhattisgarh, says Chief Minister Raman Singh while promising a “permanent end” to Maoist insurgency in the state.”I will do the best to provide a transparent and responsive government to people with the main focus being on infrastructure build-up and improving people’s life quality,” 56-year-old Singh told IANS in an interview.

Singh, an ayurvedic doctor-turned-politician, is credited with single-handedly helping the BJP retain power in the state in the November polls. He was sworn in chief minister of the mineral-rich state on Dec 12 after the BJP won 50 seats in the 90-member legislative assembly.

“From village officials to ministers and the chief minister, everyone will have fixed responsibility and they have to deliver so that people should feel we are dedicated to them,” he said.

“People want all-round development and peace with a permanent end to Maoist insurgency,” he said.

“The BJP clearly has the people’s approval to go all out against insurgents who have blocked development in Bastar for decades,” he said. The BJP recorded its best ever poll performance in the Bastar region, winning 11 of the 12 seats.

A Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) activist since childhood, Singh is popularly known as `Mr. Clean’.

His image plus a rice scheme, his brainchild, launched in January 2008 to provide 35 kg rice per month to over 3.5 million poor families at Rs.3 per kg, helped the BJP pull off its victory in the polls.

He said, “The rice scheme for Rs.3 a kg is to be converted into rice at Rs.2 a kg besides providing interest-free loans to farmers from the next fiscal year, 2009-10.”

Singh said his government would continue to work for “industrial revolution” with the setting up of steel units and power plants in poverty-hit regions to help local people get jobs and also ensure the development of the region.

On Tata Steel’s five million- tonne per annum (5-MTPA) project and Essar Steel’s 3.2 MTPA plant which are expected to come up in the Bastar region but have been stuck since 2005, Singh said: “Eighty percent land takeover is complete in the Tata Steel project.”

“All steel and power projects for which we signed deals in recent years are on, including Tata and Essar. I want major projects to come into impoverished areas to tackle poverty.”

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