NGOs focus on ailing state

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  • Published 17.11.08

Ranchi, Nov. 17: It was an exchange of opinions on what ails the state conducted by 25 NGOs that came together at the Ranchi chapter of the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) today.

The program was presided over by Beth A. Payne, the US Consul General, who is based in Calcutta, and the topic was “Jharkhand Development: Problems?” Payne’s began the discussions by highlighting on the weaknesses of the “otherwise mineral-rich”.

“American firms have always looked forward to states such as Jharkhand that is blessed with salubrious climate and rich mineral deposits. However, lack of infrastructure here makes the firms take two steps back, even before they proceed with talks with the government. Today, our purpose is to know what ails this wonderful state at the grassroots,” said the official outlining the programme agenda.

What followed were several discussions on issues such as governance, literacy, sanitation and the Naxalite problem.

K.R. Sinha, the director of the State Resource Centre (SRC), Jharkhand, pointed out a “lack of initiative” and innovation in every sector in the state and then he went on to focus on agriculture.

He pointed out that it was the same lack of initiative that led to the utilisation of only one-sixth of the state’s 3.6 cubic million tonne of water resources. He blamed the non-functional pani panchayats for the shortcoming.

Ganesh Upadhyay, a journalist working with the state’s leading daily, spoke about the red menace in the interiors, such as Saranda and Chatra. He reasoned that Naxalism created a vicious cycle were it chased away employment opportunities, while the jobless youths were left as mere puppets at the hands of the Naxalites compounding the problem.

L.N. Bhagat, the faculty from the Rural Development department of XISS, blamed corruption as the “root cause” and corrupted officials as people pushing the state towards a sad end.

But not all talk was focussed on the negative and what needs to be done. Shazia, a worker of Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP), highlighted on individual and group endeavours that have led to better health and treatment opportunities for special children in the state. Her pro-active response earned her a thunderous applause.

The ADRI, established in 1991, is a research organisation working in the field of social science, research and literacy in Jharkhand and Bihar.