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Cool Bihari: June 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Encouraging News from Bihar

Last week has seen some more positive events in Bihar which augurs really well for the development plans ahead. Technical education in Bihar is set to go global. The University of Edinburgh, UK, and Iowa State University, USA, have offered tie-ups with institutes providing technical education in Bihar.

"The tie-ups will not only open the gates of the world to students of technical institutes in Bihar, but will also add to the credibility of the degree offered here because the brand name of the internationally-acclaimed universities will be added to it and it will have a better visibility in the employment market," remarked science and technology department commissioner Ajay Kumar Thakur.

The department has been entrusted with the job to process the offers made by the international universities. Prof B Sinha, emeritus professor, Institute of Infrastructure and Environment, School of Engineering and Electronics of the University of Edinburgh, has written a letter to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar expressing the desire to bring a delegation headed by the deputy vice chancellor (international affairs) to meet him.

In another development, Rajendra Sinha, instructor, international business, Des Moines Area Community College, Ankeny, Iowa, USA, has suggested the Bihar CM to visit Iowa along with his officials to discuss the offers made by Iowa State University (ISU). He has suggested discussing the modalities of setting up partnership "to fully operationalise the five engineering colleges and 17 vocational/technical schools in Bihar.

In another news on Infrastructure development the Bihar government has hired the services of a US firm to conduct quality checks of the roads in the state.

The firm M S V International, having expertise in bridge and highway construction, has been contracted for two years for Rs 3.59 crore. It will conduct over 40,000 quality checks, Road Construction Minister Nand Kishore Yadav said on Saturday.

The minister flagged off the Mobile Testing Van (MTV) equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets for testing soil, stone chips, bitumen and other material on Thursday. He said the MSV was fully equipped to submit reports on the quality of roads within 24 hours of collection of the sample .

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Shahi Litchi of Muzaffarpur

The famous shahi litchi of Muzaffarpur could become an exclusive brand
of Bihar soon. The state is moving to claim the brand name under intellectual property rights (IPR) laws.

Once the Bihar government gets exclusive rights to the brand name, no one else will be able to use it to market shahi litchis in India or abroad. Buyers anywhere will know that a litchi with this brand name has to be one of the famous litchis of Muzaffarpur.

Officials in the horticulture department are preparing documents under the Geographical Indications clause of IPR laws to prove their case that the shahi litchi is unique and that it grows only in Muzaffarpur.

They expect that registration of the brand name will benefit farmers, who will gain access to more markets and get better prices.

About 70 percent of all litchis produced in India are grown in Bihar. The number of farmers in the state growing litchis has increased in the last decade, especially in Muzaffarpur district.

But in a recent report, the World Bank noted that litchis good enough for export were being grown in only about 10 percent of the 2,000-odd orchards in Muzaffarpur. Countries that import litchis from India include the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Canada, Russia and Yemen.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bihar Cultural Show a Big Hit

A 20-member Bhojpuri drama troupe that performed in Sydney to regale the Hindustani-speaking audience of Australia yesterday has come as music to the ears of Bihar people.

A Bihar troupe led by Dineshlal Yadav Nirhua, is on a 20-day tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Singapore and other countries.Reports reaching here said the three-hour ticketed performance on a Sydney stage, which included dance, music and songs, was a big hit with the audience enjoying the show to the hilt.

The troupe has planned 11 shows in five countries, the troupe’s spokesperson, Ashok Bhatia said from Mumbai.“We have got the tickets for all the shows sold out. The troupe is registering good commercial gains, besides promoting Bhojpuri culture.”

The Nitish Kumar government had created the Foundation to galvanise people of Bihar living in different parts of the globe to promote the state’s culture.“It is a matter of great pride that following our success in India we are able to take the process forward internationally,” Nirhua said before leaving for Sydney.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bihar first to introduce Biometrics tracking for NREG

It’s encouraging to see the way technology is being used to bridge the gaps between haves and have not’s . Bihar govt has decided to issue smart job cards that also double up as ATM/debit cardsv for villagers working under NREG scheme through biometric authentication.

These villagers are workers under the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme (NREG) and are among 170 men and women in two villages who would be the first to be registered as NREG members through a foolproof biometric verification device.

For three days from last Tuesday, after the initial hostility and scepticism, villagers in Kurkuri and Dhuparchak Mushahari in Phulwarisharif block of Patna district, gathered at the Panchayat office to place their fingers (all 10) on a Korean-made biometric device. Each finger was registered twice for getting the best value of minutiae counts (the whorls and ridges on a finger).

Then the villagers were photographed and all their personal data was registered on their NREG Card. With the photograph and details scanned and attached to their names, the state created a permanent database on the workers.

After the registration process was completed, the verification was done immediately by entering the NREG ID number, and the beneficiary was asked to place any finger on the biometric device, a small machine that is easily portable to the worksite. The individual’s photograph instantly popped up from the database on the computer monitor.

All that a panchayat would need for implementing a fool-proof registration and verification process is a biometric device costing about Rs. 20,000, a laptop computer of about Rs. 25,000, a webcam or a digital camera and a personnel for operating the devices.

With Nitish Kumar keen on making the poverty alleviation programme a success in his state, his government had initially hit on the idea of fingerprinting each of the NREG workers at the time of registration and during payment of their wages. But this was hardly effective since verification of the fingerprints was a mind-boggling process and required a forensic expert to certify each of them.

It was around this time that an article in The Indian Express on January 28 this year on a biometric tracking concept devised by Kris Dev, a Chennai-based e-governance consultant, caught the attention of the Bihar administration. Mukherji got in touch with Kris Dev and asked him to prove to the state government that the technology worked at the ground level. “If your solution does all that the article describes, it would be ideal for Bihar where people find ways to beat all systems,” Mukherji told Kris Dev.

Dev went to Patna in February to make a presentation to the Bihar State Electronics Corporation and later at two villages. On June 7, Nitish Kumar watched the demo in the two villages that Kris Dev presented and gave a spot clearance for the concept to be implemented throughout Bihar.

“It is surprising that Bihar should become the first state in India to introduce biometric tracking for NREG,” said Dev today.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mahindra and A N College join hands

On the occasion of World Environment Day, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and PG Department of Environmental Sciences, AN College, Patna joined hands for a clean and green Patna. Mahindra inaugurated an Eco Garden in the premises of AN College. The Eco Garden covers an area of over 7,000 square feet and will be developed and maintained by Mahindra under the aegis of its corporate social responsibility program, Employee Social Options..

Speaking to those gathered, Mr. Rana Awadhesh said that the Patna Municipal Corporation endeavored to create a clean, green and pollution free Patna. However, he also said that it was the duty of each citizen to help the municipal authorities in this task and exhorted the youth to spread this message.

Mahindra employees volunteered for the camp under the ESOPs (Employee Social Options) programme that has been initiated by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. ESOPs is a special programme for Mahindra employees to collectively donate thousands of human hours for various social projects. Other projects that have been successfully held across the country under the ESOPs initiative include painting of government schools, various blood donation camps, planting trees & saplings, traffic management during festivals, supporting the underprivileged girl child and helping the flood affected people in various parts of the country.

Earlier yesterday, Mahindra in association with Patna based NGO, Mitrashray sought to create awareness on environmental changes. Mahindra employees and over 150 children from schools across the city created a human chain near the Boring Road roundabout, Patna. Later in the day, a painting competition was organized for these children on topics related to the environment.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Keep it Up Guys !!

This is what a true Bihari stands for character,conviction and diligence.We have the energy,passion and merit to be at the top and these young lads have just proved it that when it comes to cracking the toughest exams our lads are simply the best.Keep the pride alive and continue to make Bihar your mother state proud.

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