Patna, Jan 01 (Agencies): Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday said he expects that the long-awaited special status would be granted to the state this year, paving the way for further acceleration of the pace of development.

"I am confident of the Centre extending fuller support to Bihar," Kumar told reporters on the occasion of New Year.

The special status would lead to more Central assistance and remove obstacles in the way of providing coal linkage for the proposed thermal power plants in the state.

Wishing the people a happy and prosperous 2011, he urged them and leaders of all opposition parties to cooperate with his government in obtaining the special status for Bihar.

Kumar said efforts for exerting pressure on the Centre to meet the demand would be further intensified this year.

"It is a matter related to the progress of Bihar and the state Assembly and state Legislative Council had unanimously adopted a resolution and sent it to the Centre for consideration," he added.

Kumar charged the Centre with placing impediments in the way of proposals for 'huge' investments in Bihar and hoped that New Year would usher in good relations between the two governments.

He said the Centre should scrap the Sugar Control Act to do away with impediments in the establishment of ethnol-based industries in Bihar.

Reiterating his commitment to make Bihar corruption free, the chief minister described the declaration of the assets of his ministerial colleagues as a major step which would help further intensify the government's war against corruption.

Bihar ministers would continue to provide details of their income and expenditure every year, he said, adding, he had directed the chief secretary to make public properties of ministers on websites for comparative analysis.

"Corruption at any level will not be tolerated ... Corruption has spread like cancer and people have to take a pledge to wipe it out from society," he said, adding that the vigilance bureau would be further strengthened in the state.

Illegal properties of public servants would be confiscated under the Bihar Special Court Act 2009 and it would be advisable for 'corrupt' officials to deposit their illegally accumulated properties to the state government to open much needed schools, the Chief Minister said.

Kumar said his government would give thrust to empowerment of households below the poverty line and efforts were afoot to reach foodgrains to them.

He said his government was firm in its decision to implement a new food security scheme this year for the purpose.

Referring to the proposal for Right to Service Act, the chief minister said the draft of the proposed legislation was ready and it has been circulated for suggestions and comments.