I was hopeful for a speedy change with the coronation of Nitish Kumar on the throne of Chanakya. But after almost 16 months or more, I am getting disenchanted and restively worried for the state. I wish others were not so sensitive as I am. For how many more years will the state have to remain at the bottom of the development parameters?
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar announced that his government was not going to develop the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the state. The industries will come up only on plots, which the people will give on their own will and volition. I don’t believe that many companies on its own will be able to acquire land for any big industry. Just with the rumour of coming up of an industry in an area, many vested interests get born like mushrooms and demand all sorts of facilities, favours, and compensations. I don’t know why Nitish Kumar is to come out so strongly against SEZs. It may be politically prudent, but sends a very poor signal for the prospective sincere investors.
If I am to believe that rebuilding Bihar tops Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s agenda, he must talk and take some fast track actions to change the perception. In the neighbouring state, Buddha had to take some unpleasant decisions but he succeeded in changing the poor perception about his state in the minds of all the big investors of the country. And that matters most for the state, and the sincere investors are queuing for his chambers in hordes even with all the bad publicity out of Nandigram episode and extremely difficult unions in the state. Recent happenings in even the dieing plant of Hindustan Motors has not deterred Tatas to change their mind about the car project that is coming up almost in the vicinity after all protests.
Similar news came about the education sector. Bihar government has expressed its inability to provide land for Kendriya Vidyalays (KVs) in the state. Bihar must keep its doors open for all sorts of educational institutes without having any egoistic compulsions. Every district and sub divisional headquarters requires good number of schools.
I keep on visiting the official sites of the government of Bihar, and its updated information on ‘Approved List of Investment Proposals’. It does not have many serious investors in it. I find number increasing but almost no further status information about progress even after 16-month-old ones too. Why can’t the department responsible keep the people informed about the progress?
The chief minister may be a good person and visionary, but it will be only the projects’ implementation that will show his success and bring the confidence of the people who will, in turn, bring him back in power. The whole state must be humming with activities of constructions, small and big. Let him understand that the opposition is not dead it may be dormant. It will be only the development touching the majority that can establish him for a longer period to fulfill his vision of Bihar.
However, I congratulate Nitish Kumar for legislating the creation of Nalanda International University and roping great economist Amartya Sen to head a panel of experts to oversee the setting up of the proposed international university at Nalanda. This single project if handled with a wider vision and faster implementation such as starting infrastructure work, can bring Bihar on the map of the world again in big way. His government has got maximum number of proposals on educational institutes and sugar mills, ethanol, and cogeneration projects. Why can’t the chief minister himself and his office see that the work on the projects gets started and facilitate to expedite that?
On a similar line, his deputy can take up the task of clearing the mesh in Patna and making it attractive enough to investors. In a recent 18 city survey done by AC Neilson-ORG Marg on 11 parameters including drainage, greenery, cleanliness and garbage disposal on the basis of citizens satisfaction levels, Patna remained in the bottom five, while Kolkata that was so poorly placed could come in the first five.
I shall go by NK Singh tips that he recommends in his article- ‘What’s good for Bihar is good for India’ in Financial Express: “Learn from others’ experience. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel in all cases. The world is full of relevant experiences, both successes and failures, to learn from.” There are many success stories for both the rural and urban development from other states that can be emulated. The government and people of Bihar must not keep on doing what others don’t like. Bihar must build on some soft power of its own.
I request Bihar’s senior ministers of central cabinet and of the state to shun fighting in public and media for petty political advantages. Don’t spoil the image of Bihar any more. As an oldman, I expect every person from Bihar to realize and appreciate this and to behave at his work in Bihar or outside in a manner that builds the positive aspect of Bihar brand.