Sweet dreams to jazz up Nitish regime

Read more below

By NALIN VERMA in Patna
  • Published 7.11.06
  •  

Patna, Nov. 7: For chief minister Nitish Kumar, charity begins at home.

Nitish will spark off celebrations commemorating his first year in office in November by tabling a “report card” of the government and follow it up with a global meet at Patna in January to discuss development strategies for a “resurgent” Bihar.

The investment of Rs 4,600 crore for opening new sugar factories and the revival of the closed ones will be one of the principal features of the report card.

“The sugar sector, which has the potential to put the Bihar economy back on track, is the most favoured destination of the investors. We have already sanctioned proposals for 10 sugar mills and have received project reports for 15 others from the entrepreneurs,” the Bihar chief minister, who had promised to issue his government’s report card after a year in office, told The Telegraph. Nitish is learnt to have been supervising the report himself.

From January 19 to 21, experts and investors from across the world are expected to flock the state capital for a meet and the Nitish government is a party to the gathering jointly organised by New Delhi-based Institute of Human Development and bihartimes.com, a Patna based portal.

Nitish’s focus, though, will remain the sugar sector, which used to be the backbone of state’s economy. All nine sugar factories of the state sugar corporation downed the shutters during the 15-year Lalu-Rabri regime leaving lakhs of farmers, in a sugarcane-rich state like Bihar, impoverished.

“The revival of the sugar factories will open the gate for investors to invest in the agro-based sector, which is ideal for the gangetic planes of Bihar,” Kumar said. “The praise from the Tatas and Mahindras has proved that the government is building a friendly atmosphere to invite investment.”

Interestingly, Nitish, unlike his predecessor Lalu Prasad and Arjun Munda, former chief minister of neighbouring Jharkhand, has not made a single foreign trip in his year-long stint in the saddle. Lalu Prasad went to England, United States, Singapore, among others, in the 1990’s ostensibly to invite investment in the state.

Nitish, in a way, resembles his Orissa counterpart Naveen Patnaik who despite being in the United States with fellow writers and bibliophiles before donning the politician’s robe has not visited a single foreign country after being in office for nearly three years. His government, though, has invited investment, including foreign ones worth Rs 4 lakh crore.

“The concept of a global village is fast gaining ground. It’s not necessary to make frequent foreign trip on state expenses. People from all across the globe are watching us in this IT age. We have to create a conducive atmosphere for investment and investors will follow,” Nitish Kumar said.