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Posts Tagged ‘Bihar’

Nothing new about direct cash transfer: Nitish Kumar

Patna, Nov 28 (IANS) Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday said there was “nothing new” about the UPA government’s decision to pay direct cash subsidy to people as Bihar has already implemented the payout process in several schemes.

“What is new in payout of direct cash subsidy to the beneficiaries? There is nothing new in it. Bihar has implemented the cash subsidy payout to beneficiaries,” Nitish Kumar told newspersons here.
Nitish Kumar said the Bihar government has been paying cash subsidy directly to students to buy cycles under a scheme. The money is directly made available to students for school uniforms to avoid any leakage.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced a direct cash transfer scheme which would initially be implemented in 51 districts of the country. The subsidy amount would go directly into the bank accounts of the people.

Mahabodhi temple plans hospital, medical college

Patna, Nov 28 (IANS) Bodh Gaya’s Mahabodhi temple − one of Buddhism’s holiest shrines − plans to set up a world class hospital and medical college with international financial aid in the holy town in Bihar, an official said Wednesday.

“The temple management committee have decided to establish a Buddhist world hospital and medical college in Bodh Gaya with the help of Buddhist countries of southeast Asia,” the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee secretary N. Dorjee said.
Dorjee told IANS over telephone that it will be first such development project in Bodh Gaya with the sole aim to serve poor and provide them best medical and health care.
“I am happy to disclose that a number of officials of embassies of Buddhist countries of southeast Asia have shown keen interest to help the proposed project in Bodh Gaya,” Dorjee said.
Dorjee said that funding for the project would not be a problem. “Most of the 22 countries of southeast Asia are going to fund the project as it would come up at Bodh Gaya,” he said.
The committee has already approached the Gaya district administration for land and other requirements.
“We would start work on the project soon after the land is provided to us by the state government,” Dorjee said.
The Mahabodhi temple was declared a World Heritage Site in June 2002 by the UNESCO. Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment 2,500 years ago near this temple.

Bihar to pay MGNREGA wages through banks

Patna, Nov 28 (IANS) The Bihar government has decided to pay wages to workers under the rural jobs scheme through public sector banks instead of post offices to check delays and irregularities, an official said Wednesday.

“We have directed all district magistrates to make wage payments only through public sector banks to workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA),” Rural Development Secretary Amrit Lal Meena told IANS.
Meena said officials had been asked to open bank accounts for all job card holders.
“This new system will be effective in toto from Feb 1, 2013,” he said.
Rural Development Minister Nitish Mishra has said the new system of wage payment through banks was an effort to make the process more transparent and check corruption.
Last week, Delhi−based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) said a performance audit of MGNREGA in Bihar found that 73 percent of the Rs.8,189 crore scheme funds, spent in the state’s 38 districts in six years (2006−12), were embezzled by the implementing authorities.
The jobs scheme aims at enhancing the livelihood security of villagers by guaranteeing 100 days of wage−employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

Tata Motors enters Bangladesh’s car market

Dhaka, Nov 27 (IANS) Tata Motors Tuesday entered the Bangladesh passenger car market, introducing two sedans and a hatchback.

“Bangladesh’s customers for new cars demonstrate high discernment. They will see that reflected in our cars. Our service will be easy−to−reach and prompt,” said Johnny Oommen, head, international business, passenger cars, Tata Motors.
The company launched its Tata Indigo eCS compact sedan and Tata Indigo Manza, a luxury sedan, as well as Tata Indica Vista hatchback.
The company said its passenger cars will be available in Dhaka through one showroom and by 2013, three other cities will be covered, with a showroom each.
Tata Motors holds a 70 percent market share in the country’s commercial vehicle segment. The company first set shop in Bangladesh way back in 1972.

Mauritius information centre to open in Patna

Patna, Nov 27 (IANS) A Mauritius information centre that will operate as a resource centre to help Mauritians of Indian origin, most of them from Bihar, trace their roots will soon come up here.

“A Mauritius information centre will be opened in Patna soon,” state Tourism Minister Sunil Kumar Pintu told IANS. He added that the move follows an agreement between the Bihar and Mauritius governments.
“It will operate as resource centre for Mauritians of Indian origin, most of them from Bihar. We will keep records of their ancestors and other related information to help them trace their roots,” the minister said.
He said the state government will gather information about the ancestors for documentation.
A life−size statue of Mauritius’ first prime minister Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was installed in Patna in 2007 to strengthen ties between India and Mauritus.
Ramgoolam, whose ancestors hailed from Bihar, was the prime minister from 1961 to 1982 after independence from Britain.
A large number of Bihar residents, known as the Girmitiya labourers, had travelled to various parts of the world, including Mauritius, in the 19th century to serve as indentured labourers in sugarcane and rubber plantations.

Jharkhand requests PM not to cancel state firm’s coal blocks

Ranchi, Nov 26 (IANS) Jharkhand Deputy Chief Minister Heman Soren Monday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Coal Minister Sri Praksh Jaiswal in New Delhi and requested them not to cancel eight coal blocks allocated to a state−run company.

“Hemant Soren met the PM and the coal minister and requested them not to cancel the coal blocks allocated to Jharkhand State Mineral Development Council (JSMDC). The cancellation will push the state in heavy financial loss,” an official release said here.
Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Soren, who holds charge of mines department, said: “We have spent crores of rupees for developing the coal blocks. Coal blocks are not developed in a short span of time. Jharkhand is a tribal dominated, backward state and it needs centre’s help to improve its condition.”
A Group of Ministers has recommended cancelling the coal blocks allocated to the JSMDC.

Nitish Kumar supports appointment of new CBI chief

Patna, Nov 26 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Monday supported the appointment of a new CBI chief and made it clear that he had no objection to it.

This comes as another set back to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had opposed the process of appointment of Ranjit Sinha as the new chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The BJP had sought the appointment to be kept on hold till the Lokpal Bill is passed. The bill provides for a collegium to pick the CBI chief.
Speaking to newspersons here, Nitish Kumar said: “We have no objection to the appointment of Ranjit Sinha as new CBI chief.”
Nitish Kumar said if the central government had appointed a new CBI chief, it would be the right decision.
Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) party is a constituent of the BJP−led National Democratic Alliance.
The BJP opposition to the appointment was conveyed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh three days ago in a joint letter by Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley.
The prime minister rejected the BJP’s demand to keep the new CBI chief’s appointment in abeyance until the Lokpal bill was passed.

Bihar orders probe into rural job guarantee scheme

Patna, Nov 26 (IANS) The Bihar government Monday ordered a probe into allegations of corruption in the state’s rural jobs scheme in the wake of a performance audit report by a Delhi−based NGO revealing “an open loot of taxpayers’ money”.

State Rural Development Minister Nitish Mishra Monday said the government would conduct the physical verification of beneficiaries and areas covered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
“We have ordered a physical verification of all the facts related to the scheme,” Mishra said here.
Two days ago, Delhi−based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) said the performance audit of MGNREGS in Bihar found that 73 percent of the Rs.8,189 crore scheme fund, spent in the state’s 38 districts in six years (2006−12), were embezzled by the implementing authorities.
“There is an open loot of taxpayers’ money. There is plunder of rural poor’s right to guaranteed wage employment for 100 days and there is pillage of every single norm of democratic governance and public accountability,” the CEFS report said.
It added: “The scale and dimensions of MNREGS corruption in Bihar suggest that this kind of open loot is impossible without active connivance of the block and district authorities.”
Parshuram Rai, founder director of CEFS, said the audit was done over nine to 10 months, covering 2,500 households in the state. The amount siphoned off, CEFS said, is nearly Rs.6,000 crore.
Mishra assured that strict action would be taken against officials found involved in irregularities in the implementation of the scheme.
MNREGS aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing 100 days of wage−employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

Where Hindus join Shias to mourn Imam Hussain

Muzaffarpur (Bihar), Nov 25 (IANS) A group of upper caste Hindus joined Shia Muslims here Sunday to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, saying it was part of their tradition.

The martyrdom of the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, his family and followers marks the 10th day of the month of Moharram.
These Hindus in Muzaffarpur, about 70 km from Patna, belong to the Bhumihar Brahmin Mahasabha and claim their lineage as the Hussaini Brahmin sect.
“We also mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain like Shia Muslims. It is part of a centuries−old tradition started by our ancestors,” said Mahinder Singh, one of the dozens of Hindus who marched barefoot.
Like their Shia counterparts, they too beat their chests, constantly chanting ‘Hussain, Hussain, Ya Hussain!’
Another Hindu, Shyam Kumar Sharma, who also participated in the Muharram procession, said he was proud to mourn the martyrdom of Hussain, whom he described as “a hero of humanity”.
“It is a historical fact that our ancestors joined Hussain when he was fighting against Yezid at Karbala,” Sharma told IANS.
“We are following an ancestral tradition,” he said.
Singh said according to historical records, Hussaini Brahmins had settled on the banks of the Euphrates river after the battle of Karbala. Later they moved to India.
In the preface to his novel titled Karbala, published in 1924 from Lucknow, Munshi Prem Chand stated that Hindus who died in the Karbala war were believed to be descendants of Ashvathama.
Elsewhere in Bihar too, dozens of Hindu families observed Moharram and took out a ‘tazia’ (replica of Hussain’s shrine) in a procession.

Nitish promises road link to 1,000 rural clusters

Patna, Nov 24 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Saturday promised road link to around 1,000 rural clusters with at least 250 people and claimed 25 million citizens have gained from a law enacted for timely delivery of public services.

“We have decided to launch a new scheme − Mukhyamantri Gram Sampark Yojna − to connect small habitations through roads,” Nitish Kumar told reporters here, releasing his government’s report card on the eve of completing seven years in office.
Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal−United is heading a government supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party. He completes the second year of his second term Sunday.
“All habitations with population of 250 will be connected through roads,” said the chief minister, adding that around 1,000 clusters would gain from the scheme.
The government will construct 34,100 km roads in the next five years at a cost of Rs.23,881 crore, he said.
Highlighting the gains from the state’s Right to Public Services (RTPS) Act, Nitish Kumar said: “In the span of 15 months, about 2.5 crore people have benefited by obtaining different certificates under it.”
“The number of people using it to obtain certificates proved that RTPS Act is a big success,” he said.
The law came into effect Aug 15 last year, ensuring timely and transparent delivery of 50 public services.
Earlier, he warned that government officials who did not deliver services within the stipulated time would be fined up to Rs.5,000.

A ‘Pakistan’ where Kasab’s hanging was celebrated

Purnea (Bihar), Nov 24 (IANS) Days after the execution of Pakistani national Ajmal Amir Kasab for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, the people of Pakistan are in a celebratory mode.

There is a village in Bihar that bears the same name as India’s neighbour, Pakistan, and in that little village, with about 35 households and a total population of about 250, residents are happy that justice has finally been done to a man responsible for so many deaths four years ago.
Pakistan is the name of a village in Singhiya panchayat, Srinagar block, Purnea district, Bihar. It is about 30 km from Purnea town, the district headquarters.
“People in Pakistan not only distributed sweets and burst crackers but also plan to organise a feast soon to celebrate the hanging of the terrorist,” said a police officer in Purnea, about 350 km from the state capital.
Surya Murmu, an upbeat Pakistan villager, said: “We were in a festive mood after hearing of the hanging and we celebrated the event with singing, dancing and distribution of sweets.”
Another villager, Banjua Hembram, said: “We have to get together and have a feast. This is an event that calls for celebration.”
Murmu recalled that after 26/11, when 166 people were killed by Pakistani terrorists in Mumbai, the villagers had even considered changing the name of their village.
That terrorist strike had been one that had shaken up the village community, Hembram agreed.
“We were so terribly affected by the events of November 26, 2008 that we had decided that it would be best to change the name of the village. The matter was discussed, but we later dropped the idea,” Murmu recalls.
District officials say that government documents record the name of the village as Pakistan.
So how did the village get its name? What is interesting is that there is not one Muslim family in the village, which comprises mostly Santhal tribal households. There is not one mosque in this Pakistan.
Elders in the village recall that the village was named soon after India’s partition in 1947.
“Many Muslims who earlier lived here chose to leave for East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), when the country was partitioned. We decided then that the village could be named in their memory,” one elderly villager said.
An official in the chief minister’s office told this correspondent that when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar informed a visiting 21−member Pakistani delegation in August that there was a village named after their country in the state, the delegation expressed surprise.
In that visiting Pakistani delegation there were 13 members of the Pakistan parliament, who had never heard of the village.
The official told IANS: “The chief minister showed the map of Pakistan village to the Pakistani delegates and explained that when all the Muslims of the village, then in Islampur district of Bengal, had migrated to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), the villagers left behind decided to name a village in memory of those who left.
Prior to the the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, Purnea too was part of Islampur, which now lies in the state of West Bengal.
The Muslims who left the village for East Pakistan had handed over their property to Hindus in neighbouring areas.
The Santhal tribe, to which the villagers belong, is the largest tribal group in India.
Pakistan village is poor and illiterate; the literacy rate in Purnea district as a whole is just 31.51 percent. There is hardly a literate person in Pakistan village, where proper roads, a school or a hospital is hard to come by.
(Imran Khan can be contacted at imran.k@ians.in)

350−bed cancer hospital in Bihar

Patna, Nov 23 (IANS) The central government will set up a 350−bed cancer hospital in Bihar’s Nalanda district, an official said here Friday.

“The central government has agreed to set up a super speciality cancer hospital in Nalanda,” said Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services in the union ministry of health and family welfare.
Prasad, who hails from a village in Nalanda and was visiting his native place to attend a heart camp, told newspersons that it will be first specialised government cancer hospital in the state.
“The main purpose behind setting up a cancer hospital is to provide the facility to cancer patients and help them to get affordable treatment in the state,” Prasad said.
He said the Bihar government was asked to search adequate land for the cancer hospital.
“We hope that the process to set up the cancer hospital in Nalanda will speed up soon,” he said.
Prasad said most of the cancer patients from Bihar are forced to go outside for treatment because there is no facility available to them in the state.

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