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For Manjhi, charity begins at home

Mahakar was a nondescript village till May 20 this year. After that itís fortune changed, like it had for Phulwaria and Kalyanbigha before.

It now boasts of a high school. An additional primary health centre (APHC) is under construction. Land has been identified for an industrial training institute (ITI), community hall and anganwadi centres here. The turnaround came about after a resident from here, Jitan Ram Manjhi, became chief minister. Phulwaria had similarly seen better days after Lalu Prasad became chief minister. So had Kalyanbigha after Nitish took over.

Thereís more lined up for Mahakar. Manjhi has laid the foundation stone for a police station building for the new Mahakar police.

District magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said a playground with some amenities would come up at Sapneri village near Mahakar.

Manjhiís neighbour in Mahakar, Arvind Kumar, says the former did his best for the village even when he was a minister. But, as chief minister, he is paying extra attention. The village is now well connected to a pucca road network. On Manjhiís initiative, a canal is being dug up near Mahmuda village to bring water from the Falgu River.

However, peopleís wish list here is a long one. Vikas Kumar, a mason, wants a separate school for scheduled caste (SC) students. Some below poverty line (BPL) villagers complained they had not received BPL cards. Munib Mistri, a blacksmith, and Nand Lal Yadav complained they have not been getting foodgrain at subsidised government rates.

On Monday, Manjhi held a janata durbar at his ancestral house where he met over 300 people from Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Nalanda, Ara and Nawada districts. They had all come with grievances about power shortage, eve-teasing, delay in family pension and others. He directed officials to attend to the complaints.

After the durbar, he told The Telegraph the state was developing. Entrepreneurs from Japan, Arab countries and Hyderabad in India had contacted him and expressed their desire to invest in the state. The Gulf nations had offered to invest around Rs 8,000 crore, he said. ďI am going there (to the Gulf) in October. I will attend a conference in which people from Bihar would participate. Decisions on investment would be taken there. In the coming years, the state will see lakhs of crores in investment,Ē he said.

Biharís per capita income, he said, had increased from Rs 6,000 to Rs 22,000, power availability from 750MW to 2,500MW. The state cabinet is set to pass the land acquisition law on Tuesday and decide on according state fair status to the Pitripaksh mela, which he would inaugurate next month.