Let me start with a story ‘How Nitish, Sonia, and Lalu failed to solve the menace of Kosi that would have been a priority’. I quote from an article that appeared in Business Standard:
“Way back in 1953, then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appealed to fellow citizens to contribute generously to the PM National Relief Fund. The reason: the Kosi river, “which has misbehaved so often in the past”, had caused “unprecedented floods” in parts of Bihar. The damage, at the time, was estimated at Rs 21 crore. And the cost of relief and rehabilitation was in excess of Rs 2 crore.So moved was Nehru at the plight of people in the flood ravaged areas that he had decided to do something to tame the river. The Central Water Commission was asked to carry out a study and come up with a long-term solution. The Commission had suggested building a high dam at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 150 crore. However, the cost was found to be beyond the affordable limit. The scarce resources available then – India was still emerging from British rule – were to be used judiciously and the case of Bhakra Nangal Dam was found to be stronger. The Kosi dam project, therefore, had to be shelved and Bihar was deprived of its own Bhakra Nangal.”
Why could not Sonia, who has suddenly become concerned about Bihar’s development, helped to get over this perennial problem of Bihar by asking Manmohan government to take up the project again and that too seriously? Why in 25 years of Lalu or Nitish didn’t move to get that Kosi Dam started to save the upheaval of human mass every year in the region?
Lalu, who claims himself the sole heir of Yadubansi and Krishna could have made Bihar the topmost milk producing state, ahead of Gujarat. It would not have required any assistance from the outside or great technical assistance or investment while providing extra earning to every family. Has Lalu any excuse for not doing that? Does Lalu know that with the increasing demand, India the top producer of milk in the world will in few years have to become a net importer of milk. Nitish could have at least done this to take people out of poverty, but he also failed. I doubt if they are concerned about the poor of Bihar. They have kept Bihar poor to remain in its driving chair for years to serve their own selfish motives.
Lalu as Railway minister got the cabinet sanction for setting up two Railway Projects that could transform Bihar into a manufacturing state if executed efficiently: 1. an electric locomotive production facility, a joint venture, in Madhepura, with an investment outlay of Rs 22,000 crore, and 2. a Rs 20,000-crore diesel locomotive factory at Marhora. Nothing much happened over last ten years. Neither Lalu with all his nearness to Sonia Gandhi nor Nitish could follow it up over last ten years for getting them implemented. Fortunately, recently the projects appears to be moving ahead. The French major Alstom has emerged as the lowest bidder for the production of electric locomotives in Madhepura.The financial bid for the Marhora diesel locomotive plant may be going to GE. With the right imagination and understanding between centre and state leadership, it can change the industrial landscape of the regions of Bihar with possibility of many vendors setting up their own manufacturing shops. Why Nitish could not prioritise these projects for these manufacturing plants and pursue it with the centre? Can’t he appreciate the importance of these projects? Why could get more and more ITIs for the youths of Bihar who will be readily available for manning these projects?
Bihar could have become a major state for IT and ITeS sector that could have upgraded the economy of the state. Lalu never believed in the potentials of these sectors. Nitish as an engineer by qualification could have certainly gone more aggressively for attracting the entrepreneurs in setting up the shops, but in last ten years of his rule hardly any significant progress has happened. The sector requires technical talent. Bihar could not get the higher education sector established as other states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Karnataka, and even UP have done it. Most of the Biharis go for their higher education outside the state and get employed in those states, perhaps in thousands every year. Why did Nitish, himself an engineer failed to get IT biggies in Bihar when they were freely choosing other destinations in India from Bhuwaneswar to Noida and Mohali?
In the big grand alliance rally Nitish again stated, “We will create a Bihar where people dont leave Bihar to find opportunities, but people come here.”: Who will believe Nitish Kumar or Lalu to make the future Bihar uncertain again for the next five years?