The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Marandi in ‘master’ moan

Ranchi, Nov. 14: On the eve of Jharkhand’s second foundation day, chief minister Babulal Marandi admitted that his biggest failure has been his inability to convince people that he was his own master, but said he was laying the platform on which the state would prosper in coming years.

Addressing a press conference, Marandi said that in his two-year tenure he had failed to prove that he had the “guts” to take decisions, that he was not surrounded by a close circle of aides that was the brain behind his moves and that he was not influenced by others.

Though the chief minister said he was satisfied with the pace of development, his admission was a clear indication that the development works had failed to take shape. If the projects had been implemented, people would not have regarded him as “indecisive”, as he himself said.

At a press conference, one in the chain of events leading up to the Foundation Day, Marandi preferred not to deliver anything that could interest the masses. He said he wanted to share his thoughts with the people. Even if he had any ambitious plans, he held them close to his heart, probably to announce them before deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, the chief guest on the first day of the six-day extravaganza.

Today, he parroted the ambitious plans for the core infrastructure sector that he has already stated on several occasions in the past. Marandi spoke at length about the schemes related to the core sector of development — road, power, education — with specific timeframes extending up to 2010 after stressing that development took time and could not be achieved overnight. His government was laying a concrete foundation that would give results in the coming years, he said.

“Our literacy rate is 54 per cent while for women it is only 39 per cent. By 2010, we plan to increase the literacy rate to 80 per cent with help of the society. By 2004, we plan to build all-season roads up to block headquarters and working-condition roads up to panchayats by 2005. Over 50 per cent of people of Jharkhand are forced to lead pitiable lives and are below the poverty line,” Marandi said.

“Over 65 per cent villages are miles away from the nearest motorable roads. Electricity, yet another pre-requisite for development, has reached only 15 per cent villages and we plan to attain 100 per cent target by the year 2007. If there are good roads, a good power situation and if people are educated, tourism and industry would flourish leading to prosperity for the people,” Marandi said.

Harping on the legacy inherited from Bihar, Marandi said he was given a “blank sheet of paper and he is expected to write everything on it”. Earlier, at every opportunity, Marandi used to equate Jharkhand to a new-born who has teething problems and takes time to learn to walk.

In the last few months, he has been giving timeframes for the development works that have seldom been met.

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