Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bihar Analysis- July

Bihar, where caste equations are always of paramount interest, saw a new director general of police in the form of Devki Nandan Gautam,a 1974 batch IPS from a dalit community. Gautam was made DG of police in place of a Brahmin, Shiv Chandra Jha.

Claims of two other senior IPS officers were ignored while superseding Gautam. Gautam, is considered an upright honest officer. The then chief minister, Karpoori Thakur during a debate in the state assembly had described Gautam as God for the poor.

Gautam was being shunted for the last 17 years. First during the Lalu-Rabri regime and then when the government changed he was ignored for the initial two years by the Nitish Kumar government due to the pressure of senior Janta Dal(U) MP, Prabhunath Singh, against whom Gautam, was monitoring a murder case.

Nitish Kumar has obviously tried to send a message among the masses about his intention to give an honest police administration in the state by making Gautam, the new DG of police. The police headquarters so far has been a hot bed of groupism.

For the second year in succession, Patna remained waterlogged during the monsoon session. Boats were pressed into service the posh locality of Rajendra Nagar, after the entire area was deluged. The residence of the deputy chief minister, Sushil Kumar Modi, senior politicians, bureaucrats and doctors was marooned and Modi had to shift to safer place alongwith his family for about a month. Medical facilities also came to a standstill as the clinics and hospitals were under knee deep water.

The district administration ordered closure of all schools as the school buildings and class rooms were waterlogged and movement of buses and autos became impossible due to flood on the roads.

The chief minister blamed the Rain God for the water logging and the urban development minister, Bhola Singh, held the previous RJD government responsible for the watery mess, alleging that the government did not create drainage system.

The entire monsoon session of the State legislature was dedicated to waterlogging problem and the entire opposition boycotted the two houses for the entire session. The leader of the opposition, Ms Rabri Debi, remained absent for the entire session inviting criticism from the treasury benches.

The Patna High Court intervened again as the state government failed in restoring normalcy in all the universities, where the teaches and the non-teaching staff are on strike for the last two months. Neither the scheduled examinations are being held nor are fresh admissions taking place. The new academic session has not started as yet. Since, the staff did not get salary for the past two months many employees died of starvation. The High Court has also admitted a public interest litigation filed by a student and issued instructions to the government asking it to take immediate steps for withdrawal of strike.

CM Nitish Kumar’s criticism of the Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav and describing him as the “world biggest liar” kept the politicians and media engaged for a week. The Railway Minister also retaliated and called Nitish depressed and a frustrated politician. Kumar said “Lalu Yadav’s only achievement as Railway Minister was to link his village and Rabri Devi’s village with railway line’’. Kumar was also upset over shifting of railway wheels factory project from his assembly constitutency, Harnaut in Nalanda to Chapra, Lalu Yadav’s constituency.

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