The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Call names, face Rabri wrath

Patna, Nov. 5: A cellular phone company is the first victim of the Rabri Devi government’s overwhelming desire to refurbish the image of the state and ensure that Bihar is portrayed in a good light.

The government has decided to sue the company, whose information network speaks of the state’s poor tourism infrastructure. The network says Bihar has inadequate infrastructure, poor facilities and accords tourism little priority. It adds that if you venture into tourist centres, you are sure to be attacked by mosquitoes.

It further warns that it is unsafe to walk after dark in Bihar’s cities.

The Rabri regime, which is usually indifferent to media criticism about the state, appears most annoyed by the unflattering description of a government-run hotel in Rajgir.

The government seems to be worried about Bihar’s extremely negative image among potential tourists from other states for tourism minister Ashoke Singh called a hurried news conference today to say the mobile phone firm would face action.

“I have asked my officers to file a title suit against the company for spreading misinformation about the state tourism ministry,” Singh said.

The company has since withdrawn the offending material. Even so, no one in its Patna office was willing to speak.

“No one is authorised to speak to the media in Patna,” a company officer said.

Of late, the government has been striving to refurbish Bihar’s image.

During the last month, the Rabri regime has stepped up its interaction with ordinary people to learn of their problems.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Laloo Prasad Yadav has been holding janata durbars at his house and has instructed ministers to be present at the party office every day to hear out people’s grievances.

During the last week, two state ministers have been present at the party office on Birchand Patel Path every day.

Chief secretary K.A.H. Subramaniam recently advertised in newspapers that he was ready to speak to the aggrieved over telephone. Ever since, Subramaniam’s office has been flooded with calls.

Inaugurating a Hewlett Packard office here yesterday, Laloo Prasad said: “We cannot be taken for a ride anymore. We are catching up fast on computer technology.”

Sitting in front of a computer, the RJD chief said he had moved on considerably since making his infamous remark: “Yeh IT-YT kya hai'

Laloo Prasad said there were some MLAs in the RJD who were not as educated as their counterparts in other states, but said they would acquire computer proficiency soon.

The party chief had organised a classical music soiree in Patna last month, prompting a colleague to say: “Laloo Yadav himself is also changing and repositioning himself.”

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