New Delhi: In a major setback to the Bihar government, the Central Government on Friday rejected the state’s demand for a special status.

“The Government cannot approve the state’s demand as it is against provisions of the Constitution, but the Centre assures the state government to provide all possible assistance for development of Bihar,” Union Minister of state for Planning and Implementation, Ashwani Kumar said during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha.

“UPA Government is equally worried about ensuring development of the state,” he told.

Highlighting Centre’s special plan for the state, he said, “Union Government was giving Rs 1000 crore to the state annually during 2003-04 but it was increased to Rs 2000 crore later.”

Cutting across party lines, Congress leader from Maharashtra Sanjay Nirupam appreciated Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government for its developmental projects in the state and urged the Centre to provide all possible assistance to the state.

The members who participated in the discussion were Rajendra Agarwal, Umashanker Singh, Putul Kumari , Kaushalendra Kumar, Monazir Hassan and others.

It was for the third time that the issue of special status to Bihar was raised in the the Parliament.

JPN/Bureau