Fresh in memory card, lost in report - Govt silent on ambitious Ganga driveway, private university progress

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By DIPAK MISHRA
  • Published 28.11.14
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Patna, Nov. 27: Call it deliberate or by chance, several lofty promises of Nitish Kumar limping on the ground did not find place in chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s annual report card on the performance of the JDU government.

Most of the pledges missing in Manjhi’s report card were either on ambitious schemes that did not take off or ran out of steam after launch. A few did not deliver the desired results.

BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi pointed out one among them and asked the state government what happened to the promise of distributing free sanitary napkins among girls studying in Class VII to XII in government schools.

Former chief minister Nitish had made the announcement just before the Lok Sabha polls.

“There was a budgetary allocation of Rs 32 crore for the same and it was approved by the cabinet. But the project is yet to start and not mentioned in the report card,” said Modi.

The report card made public on Tuesday did not mention the progress made in the ambitious Ganga driveway, estimated to cost more than Rs 2,800 crore.

After failing to attract private investment, the state government had declared that it would make the driveway on its own and Nitish had laid its foundation stone.

Today, the project has come to a virtual standstill because of land acquisition problem. “Nobody is talking about the ambitious scheme,” said an engineer of the road construction department.

The progress made in entry of private universities in Bihar failed to find a mention in Manjhi’s report card. Nor there is a word on appointment of teachers in universities and colleges.

“There is hardly anything worth mentioning about higher education in the state. Whatever has come is because of the Union government’s initiatives. I am not surprised that the report card mentions only about primary education,” said a professor of a university.

“Forgotten promises” galore in the health sector. A fully equipped virology lab has not started yet. The microbiology department of Patna Medical College and Hospital conducts few viral tests but is not equipped to conduct all types of tests.

The Combined Food and Drug Testing Laboratory still does not conduct many tests because of lack of equipment and manpower. Most important, essential drugs are still missing in the government hospitals and posts of doctors are vacant at medical college hospitals, district hospitals and block hospitals.

The erstwhile Nitish government claimed success in the health sector. But it seems to have dropped out from the priority list of Manjhi.

The government had once talked about setting up Ganga River City and an inter-state bus terminus on the Patna-Gaya road. But Manjhi appears to have forgotten both.

The promise of building 25,000 houses in Patna, Gaya and Muzaffarpur after developing townships was not mentioned in the report card.

After a series of crimes against foreign and domestic tourists, the state government had declared that it would constitute a dedicated force for tourists’ protection. It also announced upgrade of roadside dhabas into motels. But none was mentioned in the report card.

The proposed science city and arguably the world’s longest free Wi-Fi zone found place in the report card. But insiders said they were at a nascent stage and no timeframe could be set for their completion.

Chief minister Manjhi even forgot mentioning about several announcements he made in public in the report card. He promised to rename Mangadh University after former chief minister late Satyendra Narayan Sinha, regularise the services of nurses on contract and action against erring doctors. He also pledged to eradicate kala azar from Bihar in a year, introduce postgraduate courses in Patna Women’s College, high court benches in Purnea and Bhagalpur and a task force to drive away mosquitoes.

“The list of promises is endless. But the government is listless in their execution,” said a political observer.

The common phrase used by the Opposition against a government failing to keep its promises is “Daporsankhi Sarkar”. Daporsankhi is a mythical shell which replied in affirmative to every demand made to it but did not deliver even a single.

“Both Nitish and Manjhi are not just making false promises, they are making false claims and accusing the Centre for all their failures,” said the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav.