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Cool Bihari: March 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Economic Reforms in Bihar

Bihar government's initiative toward economic reforms seems to have borne fruits, with the state achieving a turnaround in its fiscal position in 2006-07, the Comptroller and Auditor General has said.

In its report for the year ended March 31 last year, tabled by deputy chief minister-cum-finance minister Sushil Kumar Modi in the state assembly today, CAG said there was improvement in the fiscal position in terms of key parameters of revenue, fiscal and primary deficits relative to their values in 2005-06.

The turnaround was primarily due to steep increase in central tax transfers (27.6 per cent) and grants-in-aid (57.4 per cent) from the Centre over the previous year, it stated.

The revenue expenditure, however, hovered around 80 per cent during 2002-07, leaving inadequate resources for expansion of services and creation of assets.

In the revenue expenditure category, non-plan revenue expenditure in 2006-07 was significantly higher than the normative assessment for the state for the year and the salary expenditure, pension liabilities, interest payments and subsidies constituted about 69 per cent of the non-plan revenue expenditure, the CAG pointed out.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

World class library and PU's revival

Chandragupta Institute of Management (CIMP), Patna, is contemplating to establish a world class library at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore soon. This state-of-the art library resource centre is expected to set a new benchmark for the existing libraries in the state.

CIMP director V Mukundadas told TOI that to begin with the library will be allocated about 5,000 square feet area on its new campus, but it has a long term plan of its expansion into a spacious and independent building. The collection planned to be housed in the library will reflect the most current global, national and industry-focused information in the form of books, periodicals, magazines, CD/DVD and newsletters.

In another significant move which could set the example for others to follow our Political leaders are setting the right example by contributing funds for the development of their Alma Mater Patna University.

Patna Science College has produced a galaxy of eminent personalities occupying top positions in different walks of life. And, at least some of them have shown their affection for the institution they studied and have contributed their mite for its development.

PU geology teacher and former Rajya Sabha member Ranjan Yadav donated more than Rs 30 lakh from MP's fund for the construction of geological museum-cum-auditorium. Most of the conferences and seminars organised by different departments of PU are held in this auditorium.

Quite recently, the second floor of an examination hall of Science College was constructed and furnished with the generous contribution of Anita Sharma, wife of Late Chandrashekhar Sharma, a renowned mathematician and an alumnus of the college. Sharma donated a sum of about Rs 25 lakh for the construction of the hall, said college principal S N Guha.

More recently, during the annual meeting of the College Alumni Association, chief minister Nitish Kumar, also an alumnus of the college, agreed to release Rs 1 crore from the public exchequer for the repair of its gymnasium and for the construction of a conference hall. Urban development minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey, also an alumnus of the college, also agreed to provide land for the construction of the association building.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Holi-Lalu Special

Holi the festival of colours is being celebrated today across the country and apna lalu jee is has not let us down and his holi celebration continues to be special as ever.


Lalu lived up to tradition, playing his trademark ‘kapdaphar’ (cloth-tearing) Holi with supporters to the singing of traditional Bhojpuri songs and drum beats at his residence here Saturday. Although initially reluctant, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief was ultimately forced by his supporters and party workers to play kapdaphar Holi.


He was not ready to play the boisterous style of Holi, and had decided to keep the celebrations to only splashing of colours and singing songs.

But some enthusiastic supporters and party workers tore Lalu Prasad’s clothes and forced him play his trademark Holi.

“First, we tore his clothes and after that he tore the clothes of some of us, leading to the kapdaphar Holi,” said Mithlesh Kumar, a Lalu Prasad supporter.

Wishing all the readers of Cool Bihari a very Happy and colourful Holi.Play Safe.

Pictures Courtesy :Manish Sinha

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bihari Women Honoured by UNDP

A woman sarpanch of the gram kutchheri (rural court)in Minapur recently received global accolades for delivering instant, and correct, justice.

The United Nation Development Project (UNDP) also filmed her while delivering a verdict and will use the footage for a documentary on her.

Meet Kiran Devi, sarpanch of Raghai panchayat in Minapur block of the district. Declaring Kiran a role model, the UNDP said her story would be showcased on the TV in the United Nations for settling disputes efficiently in rural areas, without asking for a single penny in return. A team of the UNDP, led by VK Sinha, visited this sleepy hamlet and filmed her work during their day-long stay.

Talking to HT over phone from New Delhi, Dr Sinha, who supervises the development work of the UNDP in India, said the UN body declared Kiran the best judge after closely observing her performance at the gram kutchheri and comparing with those in seven states of India. Details of gram kutchheris had been procured from the Central Rural Development Department, he said.

A partially educated Kiran, who regularly holds gram kutchheri under a Pipal tree, enjoys full support of her fellow villagers. So far, she has delivered 163 verdicts and not a single one has been challenged till date as, says Kiran, she always tries to deliver an unbiased verdict.

The penalty amount is deposited with the District Calamity Relief Fund after consulting all gram kutchheri members, Kiran said.

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Community Radio Project in Bihar Schools

The community radio project in Bihar is all set to get started. Schools will soon double up as broadcasting stations in Bihar where the government has proposed a community radio project for which 11 high schools of Patna and Nalanda have been selected.

The aim is to disseminate information on government and other socially useful schemes, encourage local participation by the community, revival of local and folk art forms, employment of local youth in the community thus discouraging migration, and aid the process of disaster management.

“We have already applied for licence and the decision is pending with the Centre. Once the licence is issued, we will set up FM broadcasting stations at select schools that will relay programmes related to local issues, fairs, etc. The core programming will be done in Patna while peripheral programming in districts,” said secretary of the Information and Public Relations Department Rajesh Bhushan.

Bihar’s HRD department would bear 60 per cent of the cost and the remaining will be taken as loan from a bank, Bhushan said.

On the expected outcome from the project, he said: “We expect CRS’s can contribute to social, economic, cultural and political development. Besides, personal and community announcements can be broadcast, allowing the radio station to serve as a community telephone or bulletin board, apart from providing entertainment through radio theatre, poetry and music.”

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Tale of two Heroes

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.
Orison Sweet Marden

It’s just the right quote for some of the extra ordinary people of our times.Sumak Kumar from Patna is one such Hero of our times who has typifies how “he is the change the way he want to see in the world”. Suman Kumar, a physically challenged, who runs a school for the slum children of Beur locality in Patna. The school has at present around 150 students who are imparted education free of cost.

"Education is solution to the many ills our society is facing today," Kumar said and added that this very fact motivated him to start the school. A strong supporter of making a law for booking parents who do not send their children to school, Kumar sometimes get frustrated when he finds a large number of parents ignoring his request to send their children to the school.

"Many of the slum dwellers think that education will not be of any help for the future of their children. Something must be done to change this perception else all the efforts made to spread education will come a cropper," he said. "I hope many would follow my steps which in turn will usher in a new dawn in the country," he said. Unable to move without the help of the wheel-chair, Kumar is serving society by other means as well.

He has made a group of 20 artists, seven of whom are physically challenged, which works for making people aware about the killer Aids disease and the group to date has traversed seven districts of Bihar spreading the message about the disease.

Suman has been always been an inspiration to others. He travelled to Punjab in 1988, when the state was facing troubled times, on a peace mission. It was followed by many a journeys for some good causes, including the one to Kargil in 1999 to encourage the soldiers facing intrusion of our western neighbour. He also came down from the Gol Ghar in Patna using his mountaineering ropes,he was encouraged by Bachandari Pal to take up this initiative and he made it possible with his sheer grit and determination to strive for the unthinkable.

Ragini Devi

Ragini Devi, from Balthi Rasoolpur village in Muzaffarpur district, was chosen as 'India's first Asadharan Mahila (unusual woman)' for her path-breaking move to take up vegetable cultivation and inspire hundreds of women to take it up as a means of livelihood.The 43-year-old Ragini Devi inaugurated an international woman's conference along with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in New Delhi last year.

She has now taken up the herculean task of of spreading awareness about AIDS in the villages. Hailing from Balthi Rasoolpur village in Muzaffarpur district, about 70 km from Patna, she was chosen for the honour in 2006 for her pathbreaking move to take up vegetable cultivation and inspire hundreds of women to take it up as a means of livelihood.

Being a counsellor, Devi is busy spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS in villages.'I am doing it as voluntary work to make a difference' she said.'Till date the response is more than expected. People, mostly village women, show keen interest in learning about AIDS and its prevention measures. But the fact remains that there are deep-rooted myths and stigma attached to the disease,' she said.

She admitted that it was not an easy task. 'I began my campaign against HIV/AIDS last year with the help of hand-written placards and short lectures in the local Hindi dialect,' Ragini Devi said.She decided to create awareness about prevention measures to minimize the chance of HIV/AIDS and to fight against misconception.Ragini Devi's initiative to campaign against HIV/AIDS is seen here as a right step in rural Bihar.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Innovation in Bihar's Agricultural Sector

Bihar's economy is primarily agriculture based and it’s encouraging to see the innovative practices which farmers in Bihar have been adopting over the year to generate various sources of revenue. Traditionally our fertile land has been the major source of revenue and livelihood for the agrarian society in the villages. However over the years floods have become a perennial cause of concern and in view of the nature’s fury new means to generate alternate streams of revenue from the agro based industries has gained momentum.

Take the example of Mr. Shanker Kishore Chaudhary, a progressive small scale farmer of Vaishali district,Bihar, who cultivates elephant foot yam (commonly called as Ool in North India) in his three-acre field. Without stopping with just growing the tuber crop, he has also taken up value added products by creating 33 different varieties of recipes from it such as sweets, pickle, mouth-freshner, and brewing powders similar to the tea.

Elephant foot yam is a tuber crop commonly used as a vegetable and for preparation of pickles and sauce. The tuber is commonly called as Jimikand or Ool in North India, Sooran in Gujarat and Maharashtra, Kand in Andhra Pradesh, Karnai Kilangu in Tamil Nadu and Suwarnagatti in Karnataka, it is cultivated all over the country.


“This value addition has increased the marketability and has demonstrated immense product potentials of this tuber,” said R. Ramadhar, Chairman, Bihar State Farmers Commission, Patna. Mr. Chaudhary grows the crop in his field and also takes the lands of other farmers on rent for raising the crop.“I normally harvest 50-60 tonnes from a hectare of land and earn a gross income of Rs. 2 lakhs in about 10 months.

A number of farmers in the state have adopted Ool farming as a means to supplement their income. Mr. Choudhary provides marketing support to the other yam farmers at a margin of 5 -10 per cent through contract farming. “Besides the contract agreements between Mr. Choudhary and the farmers, there are individual farmers who have taken up Ool cultivation and sell the products to local traders,” said Mr. Ramadhar.
For more information readers can contact Mr. Ramadhar, Chairman, Bihar State Farmers Commission, Pant Bhawan, 1st Floor, Bailey Road, Patna- 800001, e-mail: and, phone:0612-2206169 and 2232847

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Legacy of Patna

This interesting video has a brief commentary on the legacy of Patna and its rich heritage.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bihar's biggest challenge

Reality struck us when few days back news channels showed the shocking acts of cowardice on the streets of Maharastra.People from Bihar and North Indian origin were brutally attacked, roughed up and forced to leave the state on the call of the local Politicians and Goons in the name of regional pride. The state and central govt. has been mute spectator and the nation is not even aware of the gravity of the issue as the issue has not been given adequate coverage.

Nitin Chandra has come up with a documentary to highlight the plight of Bihari outside Bihar and how the incident in Mumbai has forced us to rethink about our identity. This is not an issue of Bihar, this threatens the existence of our great country and we need to rise above region and state to have an objective assessment of this grave crisis of regional identity.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Bihar on fast track growth

The World Bank has some encouraging views on the development initiatives in Bihar. World Bank has decided to give 8.77 billion rupees or 225 million U.S. dollars of its development policy loan to Bihar. It’s encouraging to read the positive growth plan which the bank recently published in its report. The report highlights how Bihar’s untapped potential can be harnessed suitably to attain high growth rates.

Bihar already enjoys many natural advantages and opportunities. The River Ganges flows through its heart, bringing much needed water to its fertile farmland, especially during the long dry season. As the birthplace of the Buddha, the state has the potential to become a hub of world class tourism. Gaya already has an international airport, and Nalanda is slated to become a new university, reviving its ancient heritage as a renowned seat of learning. And, Bihar’s people, working in the public and private sectors across the country, are a valuable resource for the country as a whole.

With the stage now set for development, the World Bank has resumed support to Bihar after a gap of many years. A recent project for US$63 million, aptly called ‘Jeevika’, aims to light the spark of empowerment to help rural women start productive new livelihoods. The project will cover 4000 villages in Bihar’s poorest districts. Improving economic opportunities for poor and disadvantaged communities is particularly important in a state like Bihar where more than two thirds of agricultural families have little or no land whatsoever.

As the report rightly says that “Bihar’s journey on the road to development will play a major role in shaping the India of tomorrow.

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It's a shame

It’s scary and alarming how politicians and newsmongers can create havoc and tarnish the social fabric of our nation. Be it in the name of religion, caste, region, language or state, we keep reminding the world that despite being a progressive plural society some parochial and self serving scum continue to disturb the harmony of this great country.

How can a citizen be proud of his country when his own fellow countrymen are killed in the name of state and language?

Isn’t it a shame that state sponsored pogrom is being directed against North Indians and people are scared to speak in Hindi, our national language, in our own country?

What would India stand for if we start hate campaigns in the name of religion, language and region?

What message are we giving to our young generation when people are talking about reservations in the name of caste and region?

On one hand we keep shouting that India is a land of great opportunity and invite foreign investors while on the other hand we are debarring and killing our own countrymen just because they come from the state called Bihar.It’s a shame that very few people are coming forward and speaking their mind out on this issue. The same bunch of social glitterati , chatterati which would speak till death on every petty issue has suddenly gone into shell as it just doesn’t matter to many when the hands of a hawker are chopped off just because he belongs to Bihar and earns his daily livelihood by sweating it out every day.

While we keep blabbering about lead India campaign but very few come forward to lend a helping hand to the victims of this hate campaign. The effete leadership of this country is comfortably numb to the pain and agony of millions who have been facing the odds and humiliations everyday but we are basking in the glory of the new tax proposal as it helps us to become cozier than ever before. In my own country we are treated as migrants and we are subject to discriminations just because we don’t speak a particular language.

What’s the fault of the millions of Indians if they have been born in a less privileged state?

Bloody shame!! We are still proud to be Indian.

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