The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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At helm, Buta talks progress

Patna, March 9: Governor Buta Singh's first words after taking charge have raised hope in Bihar.

'Administrative reshuffle is a key to undertaking the exercise for improving law and order and providing full security to people,' he said today after a meeting with top state officials.

Singh's words were a welcome sign because the former Rashtriya Janata Dal government of Rabri Devi had always said the crime situation in Bihar was better than in other states.

Bihar's first couple of politics, Rabri and RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, would not admit that law and order needed improvement and blamed the 'exaggeration' on hype created by the media and opponents of their 15-year-old regime.

All eyes here are now on Delhi as the appointment of the governor's advisers is eagerly awaited.

'Signals from Delhi are positive because the Prime Minister and the Union home minister have promised to appoint no-nonsense persons of proven efficiency in crucial positions,' a senior IAS officer said.

'Governance is coming back on the agenda. We feel that an elected government would not have been as impartial,' the officer added.

According to Singh, 'we will also accord priority to development, especially of education, health, human rights and programmes for the empowerment of women'.

'We are also committed to checking terrorism along the Indo-Nepal border,' he added, referring to the activities of Maoist rebels.

For a good part of the RJD's reign, development was not the most discussed element of the Bihar government. It came into focus only during this year's Assembly elections when Laloo Prasad gave the famous 'now or never' slogan, arguing that a friendly United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre would be helpful.

'We feel relieved that at least the relevant economic issues are being talked about now. The state had been caught in a time warp and we just debated crime and its expansion,' said a senior banker, hopeful about central rule.

'Time will test the intentions of the new regime,' he added.

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