Just after independence, the then chief minister of Bihar, Dr S K Sinha, in a meeting of chief ministers, convened by the then prime minister Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru, had regretfully refused to set-up hydro dam system along with rivers, emanating from Nepal after in the wake of an agreement with Nepal Kingdom government by the then British Raj government before independence to control menacing flood water of Kosi , Gandak and many other rivers, coming out towards Indian soil mainly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The then British Raj, after an agreement with Nepal, had prepared a blueprint and British Parliament okayed the proposal and sanctioned a sum of about Rs 40 crore to construct the system for enough electricity generation from hydro system and check dams over rivers to control flood menace! By that time independence to the country was granted and British exchequer, controlled by Queen or King of UK, sanctioned and sent the amount for constructing dams and check dams, direct from the British exchequer for Bihar government, to the union government. After independence surprisingly, the amount, perhaps in 1949, were transferred to Union government direct from British treasury. Pundit Nehru broke the news to Dr Sinha in the chief ministers’ conference and asked him to utilize the amount. By that time, flood from Nepal rivers started playing havoc in Bihar and started alarming the plight of people, living in north Bihar, who were leading agonising moments because of recurring floods.
Situation was grave. S K Sinha told Pundit Nehru that Bihar want immediate relief from flood havoc and therefore adequate amount may be sanctioned for constructing embankments on both sides of Kosi and Gandak rivers to save people from flood menace and thus refused to take such huge amount. Nehru agreed with the contention of Sinha and asked the chief ministers of different states to utilise huge amount from British government exchequer! Many chief ministers kept silence-but then chief minister of united Punjab spoke to prime minister to construct dams and hydro-system for generating power in Punjab by such dams on Bhakhara Nangal. Nehru agreed and amount was transferred to united Punjab and subsequently Punjab government constructed dams and hydro-system on Bhakhara nagal and today Punjab is feeding the entire country with grains from irrigated system from the dams and self-sufficient in generating energy. Today alas! scenes would have been different, if the amount would have spent for such dams in Bihar! Now the same holding of talks with Nepal government has started for constructing high dams to control flood have been initiated without any fruitful results and north Bihar people are suffering by devastations of floods every year in Kosi and Gandak and other rivers, originating from Nepal side. All these records are very much in the archieves of the Bihar’s irrigation department and notings on the files by senior engineers and senior officials in favour of utilising the amount for constructing dams along the Kosi and Gandak rivers in north Bihar!
Anyway, hohi wahi jo Ram ruchi rakha (things are done what almighty Ram wishes)! After independence Bihar has been main centre of neglect and discrimination by the centre in the country. In between on the efforts of S K Sinha, some projects like Bokaro steel, HEC, Barouni oil refinery, construction of Mokameh bridge on Ganga etc came to united Bihar but those were reluctantly from centre to Bihar! After that no big projects, sponsored by the centre came to Bihar! And Bihar continued to suffer for many years under the hands of successive union governments. Some years ago, Bihar was also divided and Jharkhand was created. More over no states like west Bengal and Orissa surrendered their territory for greater Jharkhand but shame to the politicians of Bihar, the state was divided and rich natural resources went to Jharkhand and Bihar state was left with soil and sands without any infrastructures.
But the time changed .A time of coalition era began, which exactly ended the centre's monopoly and attention on politically conscious Bihar was started drawing the centre's attention. Many projects came and Bihar started looking up. The then NDA government, which created Jharkhand also, paid little attention and started yearly certain amounts to Bihar to compensate the loss after division of state. In the meantime, many old systems of union government changed, Sarkaria commission report came and states like Bihar and other neglected states started getting some benefits. Some concrete projects came and things started looking up. Thanks to coaltion era, monopoly of centre ended and regional parties started getting pound of flesh in lieu of support to different coalition governments. Even than attitude of the centre remained same but were seen hesitant to harm the interest of Bihar because of political consciousness of people of the state. To a greater extend regional imbalances came to an end and things started looking up better in almost all states of the country.
But in the last six years, the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh of Congress started creating stumbling bloc in supporting the claims of Bihar. Because of backwardness and poverty, Bihar is yet to gain backward state status and deprived of central assistances even after the state fulfils the criteria of a complete backwardness and non-development. Discrimination: the demand is pending before the centre. Because of sharp inflation, the central assistances in the wake of dividing Bihar are not being increased.
Recent neglect and discrimination of Bihar came to light in the field of human resource development sector and appointment of a governor hostile to comparative better government in the shape of Nitish Kumar NDA government. Centre has strange argument and logic with regards to setting up of central university in Bihar. Bihar government has acquired land for central university in Champaran from where Gandhi started his movement against British Raj in India. Now centre says the university should be ideally located in and around Patna-what a funny logic of faculty will not be ready to go to far distance places like Champran for the proposed university , if set up in Champaran besides lack of infrastructures. Kapil Sibbal, union minister has strange arguments-central university only in and around Patna not anywhere else! Sibbal looks straight to only Delhi and Patna as important places not other far-flung places of Bihar for proper and balanced developments. Such attitude of UPA government also reflects the rural bias of union government when majority of population live in rural areas and balanced growth is need of the hour .Centre must think how the educational institutions are growing up in far-gflung areas of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu , west Bengal etc where brilliant faculties are working and students from different parts of the country are studying there and getting specialized degrees, diplomas, doctorates etc and getting jobs throughout the globe. Centre is obstacles in the way of even balance for development parameters in Bihar. If the centre is so much worried about faculties and other infrastructures-it must pump huge fund for creating infrastructures in entire north Bihar, particularly Champaran where the proposed central university is likely to come up? Apart from that logic and arguments of Nitish government appears tangible as four lanes road are being constructed upto indo-Nepal boarder via Champaran and there are many developmental schemes for proper functioning of central university there. Many schemes are in pipelines for development of Champaran region and the location will be present hardly four hours derive from Patna by roads-trains connectivity already exists there -trains after trains originates from the region from far-flung areas of the country. Apart from that many good educational institutions in and around Patna and Naklanlda are coming up by pumping huge resources -than what is need of more and more nearer Patna neglecting other parts of the state. Than what is this fuss over the matter -only obstinacy of union minister Kapil!
Such controversy is also being raised over location of opening centre of Aligarh university in Kishanganj areas-in this game both Nitish government and union government are playing politics about exact location of university centre in Muslim-dominated areas of east Bihar! As regards, the role of Chancellor-cum-governor in higher education and his deepening differences with Nitish government is creating big problem in higher education sector. While Nitish government want to usurp autonomy in higher education, the centre through its Governor creating blockade after blockades over smooth functioning of higher education. Instead of resolving the matter, Governor is probably aggravating the matter and state government through its managed maneuverings outsmarting present governor. Result: Governor’s refusal and keeping mum over many important bills to reform education, passed by Bihar Legislature. Although the Patna high court has indicted Governor over appointment of vice-chancellors, the governor further is aggravating the matter by not consulting state government over appointments of vice-chancellors as per acts and universities statues! Governor’s only point appear genuine that autonomy of higher education is being ruined by Nitish government and in the name of reform in higher education Nitish govt insisting on many changes in the autonomy of higher education!
This is the story of discrimination of Bihar and centre's step motherly treatment to the Bihar and also many controversies on discrimination of Bihar by the centre!
KK SINGH, JOURNALIST; Blog: www.kksingh1.blogspot.com