Many a times, I try to forget the bitter experiences of the past and start thinking very positive about West Bengal. But I don’t know why something happens soon enough and my opinion gets in reverse gear again. The amount of mental agony that I underwent recently to get a birth certificate from Uttapara Municipality has become the sore point this time. Many well wishers of Anand helped in getting every document desired by the municipality – the certificate from the HM Hospital, and affidavit from the SDO office fast enough in shortest possible time. The person deputed was going to submit it hoping to get it in hand that day itself. Something happened. CPM workers put a big lock in the municipality building and stopped all work. With all sort of influences because of my acquaintances of half a century in West Bengal, I couldn’t get that small paper for Anand. That was essential for Anand to put up his papers for green card. I had to leave to providence. It took weeks. It was only the pressure of local people, because of impending Durga Puja that made CPM withdraw the agitation last Tuesday. In West Bengal, still things are very much in hand of local leaders who can take any decision without considering the inconveniences caused to the people.
Such things happen so often, sometimes created by the ruling party, and sometimes by Mamata’s party that we forget to keep a track. But if we go by the media report, Buddha Babu has brought in transformation. He is different. He can fight with his party to make Bengal developed. Bengal is changing and changing fast. All industrialists are making a beeline to setup some or the other ventures in the state. I have not understood the logic of setting up a Rs 1 -lakh- car plant of Tata Motors in Singur, near Kolkata. The farmers’ agitation is already pet news in Bengal’s media.
However, I thought West Bengal would be better placed in India Today’s 2006 State of the States’ study. But, it does not indicate any resurgence in Bengal.
Done by economists Bibek Debroy and Laveesh Bhandari, the 2006 State of the States study of ‘India Today’ puts Bengal in the bottom ten of the 20 big states of India almost on all parameter except for agriculture.
In Overall Rating, West Bengal ranks at 13 with improvement in score. In ‘Law and order’, WB is at 14 with deteriorated score. Agriculture is the only parameter in which WB is at 7 with significant improvement in score. I thought West Bengal will be much better of in primary education and healthcare, but in primary education, WB stands at 12th rank with reduction in score, and in primary health, it is at 11 with some improvement in score.
In ‘Consumer market’, and ‘ Budget and prosperity’, W. Bengal is at 13 with improvement in score. However, in ‘Investment environment’, WB is at 18 with certain deterioration. And in ‘governance rank’, WB is at 15.
I hoped in ‘Infrastructure’ (% of household with electricity, LPG, % of villages with pucca roads, per capita road length, and bank branches, density of post offices and teledensity) West Bengal would be better with three decades and more of single party rule. However, WB ranks only 15.
What should I conclude? Should I go by the one of opposition leaders who said recently, ‘the biggest media hype today is being created around the chief minister, Buddhadev. The Bengal boom is just clever packaging.’
I don’t agree with the leader. Kolkata’s skyline is changing and changing fast. But it is too little an achievement for a party that spoiled the total work culture of the state. They must be honest to admit their mistakes and support Buddha in going faster for a change without creating any hurdle for shellfish reasons.