As an old man I spend most of my time with newspapers and news magazines- some subscribed and some on-line e-papers courtesy Internet on my laptop that Anand has provided me. I keep on looking for good news about Bihar as a very thirsty and hungry person looking for some water and food to survive. I do hardly get anything worth after wasting my energy for hours in the early morning or in the late night.
Then I go to the news that could have possibly come from Bihar too or at least could have carried mention of Bihar in some way. For instance, Tech Mahindra Ltd, part of $ 4.5 billion Mahindra Group, plans to open 5 engineering schools in different parts of the country with an aim of producing skilled manpower as per the needs of IT industry. And I start pondering and grumbling: ‘Why couldn’t one of these engineering schools be located in Bihar?’
I move to next news: ‘The government of India is planning to build 6-7 new IT townships, called knowledge townships, close to major urban centres and international airports. The residential townships will be based on the walk-to-work concept. The professionals working there will be encouraged to live close to the workplace. Each township would have a minimum 10-hectare built-up area to make it compliant with FDI rules relating to investment in real estate. Each township is likely to entail an investment of Rs 500-650 crore, depending on the area. The companies setting up units in the townships may be extended tax sops under either the software technology park (STP) or special economic zone (SEZ) scheme.’ Can Patna or Muzaffarpur have one such township? Bihar will have to urbanise if it wishes to get developed. We hardly have any other alternative.
And I move to the third news from Bhubaneswar: ‘Information and technology giant Wipro will soon set up the state’s biggest software development centre, where 15,000 IT engineers would be employed.’ When will one of the biggies of IT sector announce such news for Patna or Muzaffarpur? Why is the government of Bihar not coming out with some innovative as well as attractive plans that can allure these IT biggies? Is there any other sector that can provide employment to so many educated young men who are getting into workforce from the state every year?
And as the devastating flood in Bihar has been a hot subject, another news attracted me: “Uttar Pradesh has once again proposed two mega hydro-power projects on the Mahakali and Ghaghra rivers in Nepal near the Indo-Nepal border to prevent annual menace of floods in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar during monsoons. Both the hydro projects have the potential of generating 16,000 Mw.” I had been written about it. And many had very positive comments. Why can’t the proposals come from Bihar government? If Mayawati can think on this long-term manner, why can’t our engineer chief minister? Is there no solution for this annual menace of floods for Bihar? If there is no way out that hardly any one can believe, why can’t we have a detail disaster plan so that every person in administration knows what he is do when the flood strikes the state or the region? And then even if the chief minister is out of the country on the state duty, the officers region must carry out their responsibility or face suspension or harsher punishment.
However, I keep my patience for days and night. I get some successes too. Here is one: ‘The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is constructing an ‘Art Village’ in Nalanda on 64 acres of land. Conceived on the pattern of art centres of ancient period, the ‘Art Village’ will offer tourists an opportunity to see live creation of handicrafts by the artisans of the region. Besides, the tourists would also be able to see performing arts at the open-air theatre and visual arts at the exhibition hall.’ However, I wonder who all will use the facilities. Unless the state and the central government make a real attractive hub that can make the visitors stay at and near Nalanda for sometime, at least a day, the facility might not be flourishing commercially.
Sometimes, I dig the good news from the big story: (Please go to the link to appreciate my mining effort) ‘The Railway board has firmed up eligibility conditions for deciding on the companies that will be allowed to set up a wheel factory at Chapra, a diesel locomotive factory at Marora, an electric locomotive factory at Madhepura, all in Bihar.’ I wish these the manufacturing faculties of railway ministry of the news get commissioned before the golden seat of railway ministry goes away from its occupant from Bihar.
Further I got thrilled when I find an economist such as Kausik Basu writing so nicely about the chief minister of Bihar which has not happened for many years: Kaushik Basu, professor of economics, Cornell University writes a lead article- ‘The East also Rises’ in Times of India.
“Recently, in Patna, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar gave one of the finest speeches one could have heard by an Indian politician. It was given in elegant, rhetoric-free Hindi, and with virtually no notes. He spoke about the poverty line, the numbers living below it in Bihar and what should be done about this. He then sat through several sessions listening to professional economists, and later, in an informal group, talked intelligently about reviving higher education in Bihar.”
I am sure Bihar chief minister must be having sleepless night in handling the unprecedented flood situation in North Bihar and spending his days in flood affected areas along with his officers providing the leadership from the front. I wish him a success. Very soon the state must put all the development projects on track again. I am keeping my ears and eyes open to hear that news.