Kalam call & pledge to move ahead - President's vision, chief minister's challenge

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Patna
  • Published 19.01.07
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Patna, Jan. 19: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today spoke the minds of hundreds of Bihar natives who assembled here for a three-day global jamboree and at the end of his hour-long address, quite a few among them were enthused to “give it back” to the state after having excelled outside.

To the satisfaction of all, the President stressed on a blend of “experience” with “youthfulness” as the determining factor in pulling the state out of the morass it has slipped into over the years.

“A developed Bihar does not merely mean a state that is economically developed. I also mean the happiness of all and the regeneration of the value system for which we are known,” said Kalam.

The applause was thunderous inside a packed SK Memorial Hall and the organisers of the “Global Meet for a Resurgent Bihar” were delirious at the response their show received on Day I.

“I am past 60. But I now feel I need to give back a lot to my place of birth,” said a delegate from the United States seated next to the correspondent. “The time to do so has come now and I feel the change in Patna.”

Referring to a report in which California University scholar Paul Appleby had described Bihar as the country’s best-administered state in the 1950s, the President said the professor’s reference was to “then”. Moments later, Kalam looked at chief minister Nitish Kumar and said it was for him to “repeat history” and bring glory back to Bihar.

The President set out a 10-point mission objective as the way to transforming the state’s condition and he particularly stressed on the agriculture sector along with infrastructure building, tourism and using Bihar’s “global human resource capital”.

Kalam’s earlier assertion that a “developed Bihar is necessary for a developed India” — which was referred to before him by Nitish and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi — saw further refinement today when he asserted that this needed to be applied in the case of the state’s political system.

The audience responded to his query in describing Bihar as being “bigger” than its political system. Kalam pointed out that a “synergised approach” was necessary to fine-tune the state’s political system. “If Bihar develops, its political parties will also develop. I am happy that the state government has prepared a roadmap for full-fledged development,” he said.

The chief minister promised that his government would follow Kalam’s suggestions. “There is unprecedented enthusiasm in the state today. We are inching forward after a long phase of decline and degeneration. No one is now ready to be ashamed of being a ‘Bihari’. But development is not possible merely by the efforts of the government,” Nitish said.

“The state needs public investment of Rs 58,000 crore to keep its pledge of achieving the 8.5 per cent growth rate target. But it also needs private sector investment of Rs 1,08,000 crore for that. We are, therefore, ready to actively consider the conclusions that emerge at the end of the meet,” he added.