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Cool Bihari: February 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Survey shows good trends for Bihar Govt.

If one believes the findings of the recently concluded nation-wide survey by ORG-Marg and AC Nielsen Nitish Kumar with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been rated as the best-performing CM.The survey has identified the areas and segments where Nitish has made the real difference. The survey was commissioned by India Today.

First comes Nitish’s phenomenal acceptance level in the State, with 81 per cent respondents from Bihar rating him the best. Only Narendra Modi and Assam CM Tarun Gogoi enjoy such unstinted support, with 82 and 84 per cent respectively backing them in their respective home States.

The initiatives taken in the field of school education have emerged as the biggest factor propelling Nitish’s popularity in Bihar, followed by the state of hospitals, policing, roads and housing. The survey asked the respondents if the quality of key services had improved, deteriorated or remained the same in the last six months.

In Bihar, a whopping 75 per cent of the respondents felt that there was improvement in school education in the, while only 11 per cent believed it had deteriorated. The healthcare initiatives also seemed to go down well with the people. Sixty-one per cent of the respondents were of the view that there had been improvement in the state of healthcare, while 11 per cent thought there was deterioratio. Another 22 per cent did not find any change. Six per cent had no idea.

Policing also fared well for the Nitish Government, with 59 per cent of the people surveyed holding that there had been improvement. Only 12 per cent felt it had deteriorated, while 25 per cent did not find any change. Similarly, in the road sector, 54 per cent of the people surveyed felt there was improvement, while 13 per cent believed it had deteriorated. Thirty-two per cent did not experience any change.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sudha Verghese efforts in Bihar

Sudha Verghese, a social worker is running an educational center in Shivala Musahari village near Patna for girl children of Mushasar community, in Bihar. The upliftment work is underway with the help of UNICEF.

Varghese was awarded with Padma Shree in recognition of her services to the community.

58-year-old, Varghese, who came all the way from Kerala to study the social structure in Bihar, decided to stay back and do something for one of the state's most backward communities.She made an in-depth study of the social scenario of the state and chose to work for the Muhasar community.

"My dream is really ambitious. I want that children should at least to study till matric. Those who want to study further should continue with it and those who are not interested in it should be given vocational training, so that they can become self dependent. They should be confident and learn the skill of living life. I want them to live a normal life like them," said Verghese.

For the parents of these girls Sudha Verghese is God who has brought a new ray of hope in the life of their daughters. "Sudha is God sent for us. Our children will study and do something in life," said Bharat, a father.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bihar annual plan size increased

The Planning Commission has approved a Plan size of Rs 10,200 crore for the State for the next financial year. This is the second year in a row that Bihar's approved annual Plan has been bigger than what had been proposed. It shows an increase of 23.63 per cent over the last Plan (which was of Rs 8250 crore) and roughly 220 per cent of the annual Plan size for 2005-06.

The approval came during Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's meeting with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in New Delhi.

Expressing happiness over the allocation, Nitish said, "Development in Bihar is taking place at a fast pace. If we continue to get the Centre's support, we will soon be able to improve and strengthen basic facilities such as power, roads, water, education, and law and order. The budget proposals focus on infrastructure, flood control, irrigation, roads and power."

The Chief Minister added that the "State would be spending Rs 2399 crore on roads and transport, Rs 816 crore on education, Rs 962 crore on rural development and Rs 851 crore on power."

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Bihar may have Oil and Natural Gas reserves

After the turn of British exploration giant Cairn Energy Search (CESL), now the Oil and Natural Gas (ONGC) will start exploration for crude reserves in the economically backward state of Bihar, reports Business Standard.

Bihar is now poised to emerge as one of India's next major destinations for oil and natural gas reserves. The state's energy minister Brijendra Prasad Yadav said ONGC would shortly seek a no-objection-certificate (NOC) for exploration of crude oil reserves in the Purnia basin.

Yadav said there is a huge possibility of the presence of large quantities of petroleum and natural gas reserves in the eastern district of Purnia. Two months back, the Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy was commissioned for the first phase of exploration of a 15,500 sq km area in Bihar`s Ganga basin. Cairn Energy has been granted a seven-year licence for the Purnia basin comprising 13 districts.

The company's proposal, submitted two years back, was delayed due to various technical reasons. It had to be cleared by the ministry of defence, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and the Atomic Energy Department, said Yadav

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Girl from Bettiah

After Manoj Bajpai we have a woman from Bettiah, Kanika Verma ,who is making her mark in Bollywoood. Her film Dansh earned a lot of kudos in Patna Film Festival, she first assisted director Hansal Mehta in Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar.

"After that I worked as an assistant director in Chhal and few other films. Dansh is my first venture as director," said Kanika who toured Mizoram extensively and also met family members of the late MNF leader Laldenga prior to making the film.

Though very few people knew that they were watching a film directed by the first woman director from Bihar, they appreciated the film and and it ran to almost a packed house at the film fest here.

"The film has been directed with aplomb and it has very powerful, thought-provoking dialogues," said Gyandeo Tripathi, who has been associated with filmmaking for a long time.

Kanika, too, was happy to see the response. "Two years ago when the film was released at the same Mona Cinema, not more than 10-15 people turned out to watch it. Today, the crowd is, indeed, huge," she said. Kanika finally tasted success at her native state and hopes she will making rapid strides in the world of cinema.

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Cycle Rickshaw Project-Samman

It great to see the innovative efforts of Irfan Alam who has come up with unique idea of rickshaws with seat belt, first aid kit, lilting music, insurance cover for driver and passenger and much more.

Social Innovation of this type gives just us the idea about the untapped potential which exists in Bihar.Irfan's effort not only gives this age old profession a new face but also brings lot of respect to the profession. It symbolizes the changing face of Bihar where every individual is given its due place in society as we are rising above the social stigmas of caste and creed in our journey to create a socially equitable state.

Nearly 100 such cycle rickshaws are seen traversing the city roads, after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inaugurated the ‘Cycle Rickshaw project – Samman’ from Sheikhpura House in Patna.

The innovative project, conceived by Irfan Alam, a 25-year-old youth from Begusarai, who wore the Zee TV’s ‘Business Baazigar’ crown, is being supported by the State Government.An MBA from Pondicherry, having done his management development programme from IIM-A, Irfan met Nitish when the latter visited the institute last November.

Irfan, who is the founder and director of Samman Foundation, a New Delhi-based NGO, wants to take the environment-friendly cycle rickshaw to the luxury lane by providing facilities like soft drink, mineral water, newspaper and first aid in a rickshaw. The project, given the go-ahead even by Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, is working fine in the New Capital Region (NCR). Irfan is very passionate about his project. "We were in touch with IIT (Delhi & Guwahati), the National Innovative Foundation (Ahmedabad) and the Nimbkar Agriculture Research Institute (Phaltan, Maharashtra) to develop a new prototype of cycle-rickshaw, which could be converted into a modern mode of transport.

The project not only aims at making life better for rickshaw pullers, but also making rickshaw a marketing engine and to convert a pathetic travel into joy ride.

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Story of a Bihari Girl

In my earlier post I mentioned about this achievement of Sabita Singh who has become an icon for the people of Mureka in Saran district, about 300 km from the state capital. She is the first South Asian woman to become an American district judge."She is a new star for the old and the young here. After all, becoming a judge even in India for a woman is not easy, and she has become one in America," Komal Kumar, a village resident, said with visible pride.

This video shows how she longs to go back to her roots and get the feel of her state and country.

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World Bank to Fund Development Projects in Bihar

Financers seem to be lining up at the doorsteps of Bihar. After the Asian Development Bank a couple of days ago, an eight-member team of the World Bank called on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and indicated their willingness to provide ‘largescale’ loans for different development projects, particularly physical and social infrastructure, in the State.

Along with the World Bank team had come Suzanne Moorhead, chief of United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DIFD). The DIFD is distinct from the two banks. It provides grants for development and not loans. "The DIFD is considering a long-term association in the poverty reduction schemes in the State."

These preliminary meetings are in the form of exploratory visits in which the finance agencies are looking at the how and where to offer loan or assistance and also assess the fund absorbing capacity of the State. Indications are that they are looking at a major exposure in Bihar over a long-term horizon.

World bank South Asia president Prafulla Patel said that the bank was willing to provide funds for boosting infrastructure development, specially roads, power and irrigation. He however added that things were at an initial stage and specialised teams would visit the State for a sector-wise study before funds could finally flow in.

The visitors during their interaction with the chief minister sought to know about the ongoing development programmes in the field of healthcare, human resources, empowerment of women and last but not the least law and order.

They appreciated the initiatives of the government after the chief minister informed them about the steps taken in the field of administrative reforms, 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayat elections and primary teachers’ appointment, the ongoing appointment of 2.35 lakh schoolteachers besides the speedy trial of criminals. The chief minister also told them that the officers now are under no other pressure (political) barring the pressure of their work.

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RTI in Bihar

Bihar has became the first state to provide information under the RTI Act on phone with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inaugurating a call centre 'Jankari' at the 'Soochana Bhavan', the headquarter of the State Information Commission.

"It is an innovative idea. Applicants seeking information under the RTI Act will not have to submit a detailed written application but instead their phone calls will be treated as applications and their requests forwarded to the concerned government departments right up to secretary, district magistrate and block levels", the Chief Minister said.

"It will be of great help to the unlettered who have to approach others for drafting an application and those who are not aware of the department or the official competent to furnish a specific information," he said.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Cultural Program during Global Bihar meet

Ranjeet Kumar has shared some moments of the cultural program which was held during the recently concluded Global Meet in Patna.

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Nalanda Ruins

Naveen Sharma has put some of put of some video clips of his visit to
Nalanda.A must watch.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Patna Film Festival

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would inaugurate a second state film festival here Friday, offering a bouquet of Hindi, foreign and regional films to movie connoisseurs.

'This time people will get a chance to watch some trend-setting Bollywood films and some good Bhojpuri films,' said state Information and Public Relations Minister Arjun Rai here Thursday.

A total of 31 films in Hindi, five in foreign languages, five in Bhojpuri and one in Maithili would be screened in the week-long festival.

Filmmaker Prakash Jha, Sanjay Jha,Madhur Bhandarkar, actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, Manoj Bajpayee, Shekhar Suman ,and Neetu Chandra will be attending the festival.

Sanjay will be screening his movie "Strings" in the festival and he is really excited to be part of this festival in his state.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bihar E-governance Project wins Award

Bihar’s govt. E-Khazana project won the silver award for e-governance initiatives. The Golden Icon award, given by the central government's IT department for e-governance, was presented by central Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and pensions Suresh Pachouri at the National e-governance convention here.

The E-Khazana project is an initiative to computerize the On-line District Treasury for online validation fund balance, DDO & payment head. It incorporates receipts also. It also helps in timely preparation of accounts and capturing G.P.F. subscriber Credit & Debit amount. It facilitates both District administration and public in easy and transparent payment procedure as well as proper maintenance of accounts records.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Gauravshali Bihar Book and I am Bihar T-Shirt

I would like to urge my blog readers to come forward and buy the Gauravshali Bihar book and the "I am Bihar "t-shirt which our One Bihar team has launched recently.This book is a great work of collaboration and we hope that your support and word of mouth in spreading the good word about the book and the "I am Bihar T-shirt" will help us in our efforts to revive Bihari sub nationalism.

We wish each Bihari to read this book which talks about the great legends of our land and the Cool Looking "I am Bihar"T-shirt(image attached) which has been designed by none other our very own cool bihari Mayank babu ;o)....

Request you to get in touch with Chandan for the book and the t-shirt or send a mail to

This is our Patna office number: 0612 6450916 (24 hrs hotline)

The book and the T-Shirt are also available at these joints at Patna-

Mithila Stationers (at boring road) &
Wrangler Show Room
N.P. Center, New Dakbunglow road, Patna
Ph: 0612 325 8046

Outstation customers can call Chandan at 0612 6450916 and he will help you with the process.

Cost of book Rs 390.00
Cost of T-Shirt Rs 190.00 (Available in M,L,XL)

Please feel free to give your feedback and send your queries to the us.And don't forget to forward this to your friends and relatives.

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Simply Awesome ;o)

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Just do it - Mayank Krishna

In last one year, with the change of government in Bihar, a lot of hope and aspiration has come to surface in the life of Bihar and Biharis. Apart from the efforts of the government, a select group of passionate Bihari intelligentsia scattered around the globe is making the concept of a flat world a reality and working toward bringing back the past glory of Bihar as a land of wisdom, wealth, opportunity, abundance, governance, and cultural heritage. And it has already started making some small but meaningful impact.

But with the hope there is a concern too. From the interaction I had had with numerous Biharis at various stages of their life and career, it seems that a large number of them, particularly young and well educated, are either not interested in Bihar or show utter pessimism about Bihar's future. Some typical responses are 'There is nothing in Bihar', 'it’s too late', 'development in Bihar is next to impossible', etc. This reasoning is devoid of logic. It smacks of ignorance, stereotyping, and a lack of will and conviction.

These young people educated in top colleges of India often attribute 'criminalization of politics and serious law and order problem' as the root cause of all problems of Bihar. Nothing can be more wrong and preposterous. These children of economically liberated India, devoid of knowledge of the post-independence developmental economic policies of Indian government, believe an effect to be a cause. They believe that fortunes of Bihar tumbled in the last 20 years when the truth is that the script of this tragedy was written by the learned economic planners of India in 50s, 60s, and 70s through unjust allocation of developmental resources. Take an example: In 1955, the total national outlay for irrigation was Rs.29106 lakhs. Of this, Punjab got 38% while Bihar got just 4.5% even though Bihar was 3.5 times larger than Punjab. The result: Almost 76% of Punjab’s land is under irrigation while just 41% of Bihar’s land is irrigated. Or, take the Freight Equalization Scheme that applied to Steel and Coal and remained in vogue till 1991. This policy of consumers paying the same freight whether the coal was transported from Jharia to Dhanbad or Jharia to Vishakhapatnam broke the back of industry development in Bihar. Many of us are blissfully ignorant of numerous historical injustices of this kind meted out to Bihar by the economic planners.

They talk of lack of opportunities in Bihar and assert that opportunities should first be created before they can exploit them. This is passive mentality. If Bihar has to progress then opportunities will have to be created and tapped by Biharis themselves. If one can't help oneself, no body can. Others can help, they can support, but they cannot set your house in order. This is something all Biharis need to understand. I am reminded of the old story of two shoe salesmen who went to a place where aboriginals existed. The first sales man saw that no one wore shoes and reasoned that there was no market for shoes while the second one saw a huge market because no one wore shoes! We have to create our own opportunities. Whining and complaining will not help but action orientation will and this is what is expected from the younger generation of well educated, smart, and suave Biharis. They should feel proud of their Bihari roots and act with courage and conviction.

Another issue is entrepreneurship development. In Bihar, people view entrepreneurship as something that smart, educated people don’t do. This has to change and entrepreneurship has to be accorded its due status. With the pool of well educated and technically qualified young Biharis, there is no reason why entrepreneurship development can't take place in Bihar. The opportunities are immense though they might not be so obvious. An entrepreneurial wave can turn Bihar into the vegetable capital of India. Similar big opportunities are in agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, fruits, agro-processing sectors. The need of the hour is not large scale entrepreneurial ventures but small grassroots level ventures that ensure wealth generation along with economic and social development of the local community. We don’t need 10 investments of Rs.100 crores each; but 100 investments of Rs.10 crores each. Spread of investment is key not the quantum.

Ultimately, what Bihar and Biharis need is the Nike philosophy – Just Do It! And may I modify it a bit – JUST DO IT WITH PRIDE AND CONVICTION!

By Mayank Krishna

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