Patna: Expressing concerns over weak economic integration between the south Asia countries, Nepal Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai on Friday inaugurated the three-day long Global Bihar Summit 2012.

Inviting its neighbouring state Bihar to join hands with Nepal in order to boost the energy and tourism sector, he said that Nepal is willing to strengthen its economic ties with the state.

“Both Nepal and Bihar can work together to address the problem of floods. We can also join hands in energy and tourism sector,” Bhattarai said here.

He suggested that Nepal and Bihar should develop a joint system to avoid the damages caused by recurring floods.

It is expected that about 1000 delegates from India and abroad will participate in the summit, out of which about 150 would be distinguished academicians, subject experts from various fields, industrialists and entrepreneurs.

 Praising the Chief Minister he said, “In Nitish Kumar’s regime, Bihar has witnessed a high growth rate.” He also urged to give agriculture high priority and sought Bihar’s cooperation to eliminate poverty and provide education to the people of Nepal.

Earlier in the day, Bhattarai was received at the Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport here by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi, cabinet colleagues and top state officials, including Chief Secretary Nivin Kumar, Director General of Police Abhayanand and Home Secretary Aamir Subhhani and Cabinet secretary Ravikant.

The summit on changing Bihar is being jointly organized by Bihar Foundation, Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) and Institute for Human Development, New Delhi.     It would have pre-event presentations, six plenary sessions and 11 parallel thematic workshops. The valedictory session of the summit would be held on February 19.

Nitish seeks Nepal help

Speaking on the inaugural day of Global Bihar Summit 2012, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, “Without Nepal’s help we can’t address our problems. Somehow we (Bihar and Nepal) are associated with each other. We know our problems and understand them better. We have to work together for our progress with a formal understanding.”

“Nepal’s Prime Minister presence in this event signifies that together we can solve our problems. We have lot many social and cultural similarities, Nepal is a part of Bihar,” Kumar said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister once again referred to his demand that the Centre give special status to Bihar to make it a developed state.

"I want to score a point that the central government should not give any financial package to Bihar. What we need is that the Centre accords us a special status. It will pave the way for further development and investments,” Kumar stated.

“People’s dream of the old glorious Bihar is now becoming a reality. Now, everyone is expecting more and more from us. We have changed the image of the state during the past seven years of our rule. A lot of work has been done, but a lot more is required to be done,” Kumar lauded.

“The nation is talking about Bihar’s growth. We are now a role model for several states. We have developed our own model to ensure progress. People are willing to take things in their hands and initiate proactive measures for the welfare of the state,” he added.