From Janata Durbar to Vikas Yatra

I hardly find any news regarding Bihar these days in the national dailies or TV news channels in New Delhi. Either the reporters don’t find Lalu as zester selling any more or they are not getting the incentive they were used to receive earlier. And hardly anything significant that can be of nationwide interest happens in Patna, the only city that Bihar governments are promoting since last six decades. I don’t remember when Bihar held Indian Science Congress or even a 20-20 cricket match.

Kosi deluge and the relief work thereafter did put Bihar in news. Most of them talked about the inefficiency of the relief operation and apathy of the bureaucrats. Even recently also I came across a shocking report about many of the flood affected poor people now staying at a makeshift relief camp at Jadia Middle School under Treveniganj block in Supaul who are facing grim situation because of severe winter condition.

Bihar’s engineer-turned-politician chief minister has announced to embark on a development march where he promises to provide service to his people right at their doorsteps. Perhaps this is another experiment after his Janata Durbar to reach to the people. I wish him a success if it is not a pre-election gimmick. He should also see that all the normal work doesn’t stop in the area he visits because of the excuse of his visits. I don’t know if he will also spend his nights in the villages to understand the reality from nearer quarter or in the towns with circuit house or some other government accommodations.

I wish the government with all the aids from the centre and various international agencies and individuals would have taken up the rebuilding plan in Kosi deluge affected regions with the same planning skill and efficient execution speed as those of the relief works in the Tsunami affected areas in South. Will the relief work include the building of safe highland disaster relief centres that may have cluster of the school, panchayat bhawan, information kiosk, community centre, health care and trade training centre along the highways with multipurpose uses for all situations?

I am sure many like me must be feeling sorry and sometimes angry with the news reports of the Lalu’s childish endeavours to gain publicity or to prove his concern for the people at the cost of the taxpayers’ money. Is it prudent to spend on full page advertisements of railway functions in Jamalpur and Bhagalpur in national newspapers? As reported, the railway minister has laid the foundation of or inaugurated as many as 15 railway projects in Bihar within 28 days “to make Bihar the best”. Is it not a very late realization? Lalu claims to “have planned to spend over Rs 65,000 crore to set up railway-related factories, a wagon factory in Chhapra and Digha-Pahleja rail bridge and services” in Bihar. Can we believe this? Lalu Prasad gifted Bhagalpur a weekly train to Yashwantpur in Bangalore and announced setting up of a railway divisional headquarters. As it appears, the train will facilitate the students of the region to go to Bangalore for seeking admissions in professional colleges that the Bihar failed to set up in last sixty years. Paswan has inaugurated the revival of the moribund Baruani Fertilizer factory in north Bihar’s Begsarai district. In last few years that he is minister, he could have certainly done better for Bihar. Lalu and Paswan mustn’t take the people of Bihar as fools who can get content with these gimmicks. They will prefer to not have those projects rather than having them in chairs again.

Leave aside their constituency it is unfortunate that the politicians of Bihar starting from Rajendra Prasad and Jagjivan Ram have hardly done anything for even their own villages where they were born and the schools where they got the pre-college education unlike Mulayam and Mayawati.

Competing with each other Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan have either led foundation stones or inaugurated many ambitious schemes. No one knows if that would ever come up. As reported by many from Bihar whom I meet often, Nitish Kumar government has been working hard to improve the road, power, school and health sectors. Nitish government has also made kidnap trade slump and has also taken some tough decisions, for example, one to sack 15,000 primary and secondary school teachers with fake degrees and certificates. Some other achievement regarding encouraging clean administration is also is a good beginning.

However, I wish Nitish would have taken up some fast track projects to increase the employment of the locals that he keeps on promising to Biharis to eliminate their humiliations in far flung states where they migrate for finding their livings. Will he consider concentrating on just two sectors- food processing and tourism? Can he select few of the smartest and efficient officers for getting industries related to sugar, potatoes, licchis, and mangoes? Many a time it appears his hard work is not giving visible results as he lacks the right cabinet ministers and officers to assist him. I wish he focuses on it. He can certainly succeed but not only by vote-bank related political moves.

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