Will Nitish Kumar go down as the ‘Kushasan Babu’ of Bihar?

Source:- nationalheraldindia.com

He was hailed as ‘Sushasan Babu’ or a good administrator not too long ago. But nothing seems to be working for him as lawlessness and a rush of deaths of children in Muzaffarpur expose his govt

Nitish Kumar is one of the greatest hoaxes going around in Indian politics. He turns ‘secular’ when it suits him. The very next day you might find him sleeping with the BJP without batting an eyelid. He even does not mind stabbing a political partner in the back if it suits him to survive in power. He did it with Laloo Prasad Yadav twice and even ditched Narendra Modi once. He is a survivor whose politics revolves around surviving in power.

When it suited Nitish to take on Laloo Prasad, he marketed himself as Susashan babu or a good administrator. Bihar was then sick and tired of the Laloo-Rabri misrule. It was a period when kidnappings and pot-holed roads of Bihar were making national headlines. The upper-caste establishment, both in Patna as well as Delhi, too, wanted to get rid of Laloo Prasad who had turned too big for his boots for the system.

Fodder scam came handy for the system to replace Laloo. Yet someone was needed to fill Laloo’s vacuum. Nitish was ready to play ball with anti-Laloo forces. But he needed a label to market himself that he did with media-support which sold him as Susashan babu. Nitish who had lambasted BJP for the Babri mosque demolition both inside and outside the Parliament jumped to form an alliance with saffron forces in Bihar to come to power in 2005. Ambitious Nitish was now Bihar chief minister taking on Laloo Prasad who was his one-time close friend as well as political comrade in arms.

It suited both the establishment and the media to project Nitish as an excellent administrator, rather as Bihari messaiah, who put Bihar back onto rails after Laloo’s mayhem in the state. Nitish, to be fair to him, did manage to improve Bihar roads. He also succeeded in putting down kidnappings that had instilled a sense of insecurity among Biharis during Laloo and Rabri Devi’s rule. Nitish Kumar was now hailed as the Susasan Babu not only in Patna but Delhi as well.

Nitish had smooth sailing both in Bihar and outside. He was happy with his alliance with the BJP in Bihar. But politics took a major shift with the rise of Narendra Modi in national politics in 2014. Modi took the country by storm and came to power with a comfortable majority to form the government in Delhi. It was the period when the Congress and its allies were down in the dumps. The Anna Hazare movement had destroyed the ‘secular’ camp’s credibility across the country.

Nitish now sensed a vacuum hitting the anti-Modi secular camp. He now started distancing himself from Modi and the BJP. Ambitious Nitish even started projecting himself as the ‘secular’ national alternative to Modi. He was now rubbing shoulders with the likes of Rahul Gandhi and Sita Ram Yechuri in Delhi while he had already tied up with one-time ‘corrupt’ Laloo to continue in power in Bihar.

But Modi being a much smarter political player than the likes of Nitish Kumar, the Prime Minister forced him to surrender to the BJP in Bihar and finally acknowledge Modi as a tall national leader. Of course, he ditched Laloo Yadav again. There was nothing strange about it as it comes naturally to him to ditch partners when they are down in the dump.

Political opportunism however comes with an expiry date. Because, as the saying goes, you can fool some people for some time but not all the people all the time. Nitish was neither a good administrator nor a principled politician ever. Look how the Bihar administration has crumbled with just one wave of Encephalitis that has turned Muzaffarpur into a killing field for poor children who are dying like rats.

Now even the media reports suggest that Muzaffarpur hospitals are a shame on modern health services. This breakdown of health services has not taken place overnight. It was all there when media marketed Nitish as Susahan Babu.

The only difference is that now Nitish has already served his utility of taking on Laloo and destroy him. Nitish neither has any vision to be a mass leader like Laloo Prasad Yadav nor does he seem to have much administrative skill.

He is essentially a rank opportunist who survives by switching sides whenever it suits him. But all shades of opportunists ultimately hit the dead end sooner or later. Nitish Kumar’s dead end seems to be nigh. Unfortunately, he may go down as Kusashan Babu rather than Sushasan Babu of Bihar

What’s causing ‘brain fever’ in Indian state Bihar?

Source:- gulfnews.com

Muzaffarpur, India: The stench of urine, chlorine, vomit and death fill the main hospital in Muzaffarpur, the epicentre of a brain fever outbreak in India that has killed more than 100 children since June 1.

Doctors are not sure what the cause is, but one theory is that the culprit is a toxin found in lychees eaten by children of poor families who go to bed with empty stomachs.

One of the distraught parents crowding the chaotic corridors of the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) is Dilip Sahni, 25, a construction worker and father of three.

He brought his four-and-a-half-year-old daughter Muskan early in the morning, only 24 hours after she fell ill, to SKMCH. There almost 100 other children are being treated, many sharing beds.

“When her mother went in to wake her yesterday at 11 am, she was shocked to see her hands and legs tightened and her teeth sticking together,” Sahni told AFP.

“Her mother started screaming for help, and we rushed her to the Kejriwal hospital. At midnight the hospital doctors told us to take her to SKMCH,” he said.

“Early morning we shifted her here but her condition has been deteriorating,” Sahni said before breaking down.

Not long afterwards came the news that little Muskan had died.

The night before she had eaten bread, she did not have any lychees. It was 10 days ago she had the fruit.

– Dilip Sahni, father of Muskan

She was very likely just the latest victim in a health crisis blamed on Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the dirt-poor, baking hot eastern state of Bihar.

The onset is lightning fast, its young victims quickly developing a high fever, seizures, and vomiting. All often, if treatment is not swift, leading to death.

A total of 128 have died so far.

“Obviously it is tough to make ends meet and raise three children. But I try my best. She was a healthy and playful child,” Sahni had said when he had brought his daughter in.

“The night before she had eaten bread, she did not have any lychees. It was 10 days ago she had the fruit,” he said.

‘Dying with worry’

As the hospital guards scream at parents not to crowd the wards, Raju Kumar, 35, a father of five, has just admitted his two-and-half-year-old son to the intensive care unit.

“I am dying with worry. So many dead bodies of little children I have seen standing here. I am just praying my son is saved somehow,” Kumar, a shopkeeper, told AFP.

“He fell unconscious suddenly the day before yesterday. We rushed him here immediately,” he says, holding his four-month-old baby in his arms.

Another being admitted is Krimta Kumari, a girl around nine years old sat on her father’s lap in a yellow T-shirt, visibly flushed with fever and unable to keep her eyes open or speak properly.

Just then, there is a power cut, leaving mothers in colourful saris and gold nose studs to try and cool their sick children in the sweltering hospital with hand-held fans.

Bihar, home to almost 100 million people, has also been hit by a heatwave, with temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) killing 184 people this summer – including 78 since Saturday.

Not only is Bihar poor, its healthcare system is in a dire state. For every 100,000 people there are fewer than two health workers, compared to the average for India of around nine, according to the Hindustan Times daily.

“We as doctors are trying our best to save the lives of as many children as possible,” said Srikant Prasad Bharti, an overworked junior paediatric doctor at the SKMCH.

“No one talks about how many sleepless nights we have been spending to look after the sick kids. No one is talking about the children who have been cured. It is easy to blame hospitals and doctors,” he complained.


This is not the first outbreak of AES in Bihar. But fatalities – until this year – had fallen sharply since 2014, when 355 children died. There were just 33 deaths last year, the Hindustan Times reported.

“This is happening because the children come from very poor socio-economic backgrounds. The parents couldn’t care less whether their children have taken their meals or not,” Bharti says.

“The children wander around in heat and eat rotten or unripe lychee and go to bed on empty stomachs. This leads to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels and leads to seizures and convulsions.”


Frequently asked questions

What is encephalitis?

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, caused by any one of a number of viruses.

Early symptoms can be similar to those of flu, with patients suffering from high temperatures or headaches. But symptoms can worsen within hours, and can include serious complications like seizures, paralysis and coma.

In Bihar, children were typically taken to hospital with fevers.

How could lychees cause sickness?

Researchers who conduced a study of 390 children who fell sick in 2014 in Muzaffarpur said that lychees contained hypoglycin A, an amino acid that can disrupt metabolism, lowering blood sugar levels. That can trigger hypoglycaemia, and in extreme cases, death.

The study by India’s National Centre for Disease Control and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, added that when the brain lacks glucose, it turns to other sources of energy, which are rapidly depleted, eventually pushing people into coma.

“The synergistic combination of (lychee) consumption, a missed evening meal, and other potential factors such as poor nutritional status, eating a greater number of litchis, and as yet unidentified genetic differences might be needed to produce this illness,” the researchers said in their study, which was published in the Lancet in 2017.

Retired virologist T. Jacob John also raised the possibility that encephalitis cases in Muzaffarpur could be associated with lychees in a 2014 study published by Indian science journal Current Science. Muzaffarpur is a major hub for growing lychees, which ripen at this time of year.


EXCLUSIVE: Will put heart, soul into fighting Bihar encephalitis outbreak, says Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Source:-indiatoday.in

In an exclusive interview with Rajdeep Sardesai, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan admitted that a lot needs to be done to combat the encephalitis outbreak in Bihar. He, however, assured that he is personally monitoring the situation in the state even as the death toll from encephalitis deaths reached 128 in Muzaffarpur.

As the death toll in the encephalitis outbreak in Bihar continues to rise, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan admitted that many improvements need to be made to India’s health system.

In an exclusive interview with Rajdeep Sardesai, Harsh Vardhan said, “There is certainly a need for a lot of improvement in the health system of the country. In the past five years, we have been trying to do our best to systematically strengthen the system in the country but I think there is a lot to be done.”

The death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) rose to 128 in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district on Wednesday. Amid growing criticism over governmental inaction, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had issued directions for immediately sending a high-level team to Muzaffarpur to set up a state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary research centre in the wake of these deaths.

Harsh Vardhan also said five virological labs will be set up in different districts in the state. The districts can be decided in consultation with the state government and can be funded through the National Health Mission (NHM), he said.

In one of the decisions taken during his visit, Vardhan instructed to set up a 100-bed paediatric ICU at SKMCH. Also, in the adjoining districts, 10-bed paediatric ICUs will be set up with support from the Centre, so that such cases can be given better and exclusive treatment and there is no unnecessary load on the facilities available at Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur.

He had made similar suggestions when the Narendra Modi government first came to power in 2014.

When asked about why the Modi government failed to deliver on its 2014 promises, the health minister give a list of work that was in progress. “Let me tell you, super speciality building in the college will be ready by year-end. It will be dedicated to people of Muzaffarpur and those from adjoining districts. I myself visited the site this weekend. As far as the pediatric ICU is concerned, I had suggested there should be exclusive pediatric ICU separate from the main hospital setup but they created ICU within the hospital.”

WATCH FULL INTERVIEW WITH DR HARSH VARDHAN HERE:

Harsh Vardhan said his 2014 suggestions were not fully implemented as he was health minister for only four-five months then. The Union minister agreed things need to be improved further, “We need to ensure 100 per cent immunisation of children, we are proactively bringing many children into the net of immunisation but India being a large country we need to go ahead at a fast manner. You have seen the initial impact of Ayushmann Bharat. We have the ambitious plan to build 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres at primary level, out of which 18,000 have been created.”

However, Harsh Vardhan admitted that expenditure on health in India needs to increase. “There is an ambitious plan to increase the health budget to 2.5 per cent (from the current 1.5 per cent) of the total Union budget. Personally, as a doctor, I wish I could get much more,” said Harsh Vardhan.

The spread of encephalitis in Bihar has been attributed to malnutrition. Unripe litchi fruit contains a high concentration of the toxin called MCPG which triggers hypoglycemia if consumed by a child with a malnourished body. Therein lies the answer to the question: why only the poorest of the poor and mostly those living in Muzaffarpur and adjoining districts are suffering from the disease.

Harsh Vardhan said that the Modi government has diagnosed the problems in the system and hopes to eradicate them by 2022. “When we took over in 2014, under the leadership of PM Modi we tried to diagnose each and every problem in the country. A lot has been done and a lot needs to be done and we are very hopeful that in the new India that we are talking about in 2022, you will see a lot of perceptible and measurable changes in the country,” said Harsh Vardhan.

However, the minister was not able to give a clear answer on whether the NDA government in Bihar or CM Nitish Kumar should be held accountable for the encephalitis outbreak. “You have to appreciate that this disease has not been eradicated anywhere in the world. It is endemic to this part of the country. This is not happening only here,” he said.

When questioned on how the UP government had managed to control the encephalitis outbreak in the state but Bihar had failed, Harsh Vardhan said that he was doing his best to improve the situation and was monitoring it closely. “I can only tell you that we are trying to do our best. I have sent one of my joint secretaries there [to Muzaffarpur], have sent all possible help — paediatricians, virologists, epidemiologists. From our side, we have ensured that whatever gap exists is filled. I was only four-five days old in this ministry, but I sent a high-powered team there. Every day I am monitoring things on an hourly basis and the teams are reporting to me directly.”

Finally, when asked if he could give a guarantee that such a grim scenario would not be seen in Bihar next year, Harsh Vardhan said, “I can only give you one guarantee that Dr Harsh Vardhan will personally monitor the implementation of all the suggestions that he gave in 2019. I will do my best and I will put my heart and soul into it.”

Weather across India: Bihar heatwave claims 61 lives, rain brings respite for Northern states | 12 points

Source: indiatoday.in

The weather in India has been difficult for the population of the country with the heatwaves dominating the weather for the past few weeks. According to reports, there have been 32 heatwaves this year in India, the second-longest spell of high temperatures in the country’s recorded history. The heatwave conditions prevailing in most parts of the country has claimed at least 44 lives in Bihar in a day, even as rain brought down the mercury in some western and northern states on Sunday.

Here are the weather conditions in various states

1. Rain and thunderstorm has been predicted on Monday in Uttar Pradesh, where sweltering heat continued unabated with Allahabad in the eastern part being the hottest at 45.3 degree Celsius, six notches above the normal. Sultanpur, Varanasi and Basti in the state recorded 45 degrees Celsius, 44.2 degrees Celsius and 44 degrees Celsius respectively.

2. Blistering heatwave condition continued unabated in Bihar, where at least 61 people died on Saturday. The state government has ordered closure of schools till June 19. According to officials, 22 people died in Aurangabad, 20 in Gaya and two in Nawada districts due to the heatwave. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed grief over the deaths and announced an ex gratia of Rs four lakh for the next of kin of the victims.

3. In Delhi, traces of rain and strong wind reduced the daytime temperature which settled at 36.3 degrees Celsius, three notches below the normal. The weatherman has predicted overcast conditions and thunderstorm accompanied with light rains on Monday.

4. Parts of Rajasthan witnessed rain since Saturday, bringing respite from the sweltering conditions. The state capital recorded 9.2 mm of rains on Sunday, the meteorological department said. Bhim in Rajsamand gauged 7 cm of rains followed by 4 cm in Tibi of Hanumangarh and 3 cm each in Chirawa, Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and Sangaria since Saturday.

5. Similarly, rainfall in Ahmedabad and rest of Gujarat brought respite from the scorching heat. The maximum temperature in Ahmedabad hovered around 37 degree Celsius, the IMD said. North Gujarat and Saurashtra-Kutch regions are likely to receive heavy rain on Monday under the influence of Cyclone Vayu, the MeT department said. On Sunday morning, the cyclone remained centred about 470 km west-southwest of Porbandar, 440 km southwest of Dwarka and 545 km southwest of Bhuj, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a bulletin.

Monsoon is expected to advance further up north as Cyclone Vayu loses intensity paving the way for the wind system to move towards the Arabian Sea, the weatherman said Sunday.

6. By now, monsoon should have reached the central India, including parts of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, but it is yet to reach Maharashtra. It still remains over Mangalore, Mysore, Cuddalore over the southern peninsula and Passighat, Agartala in the northeast, according to the India Meteorological Department.

7. The western coast – from Maharashtra to Gujarat – has been receiving rainfall due to the cyclone. Only coastal Karnataka and Kerala have received rains due to monsoon.

8. Monsoon is likely to set in in Telangana around June 20 and in Andhra Pradesh by June 18, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

9. The public in Tamil Nadu has been advised not to expose themselves to direct sunlight between 11.00 am and 4.00 pm to avoid sunstroke, a Regional Meteorological Centre has said. Chennai and its neighbouring areas and several other northern districts in Tamil Nadu have been reeling under heatwave-like conditions for the past several days with the mercury hovering over 41 degree Celsius.

10. This year’s heatwave has not even spared the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu recorded a maximum temperature of 39.6 degrees Celsius on Sunday, the weatherman said.

11. The weather remained mainly dry in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday even as the maximum temperature fell by 3 to 4 degrees from normal, Shimla MeT Centre director Manmohan Singh said.

12. Some states experienced pleasant conditions with little to moderate rain. Sirsa, Fatehabad, Mahendergarh in Haryana and Amritsar, Gurdaspur and a few other areas in Punjab received welcome showers.

According to meteorological department forecast, light to moderate rain is likely at a few places on June 16, 17 and 18 in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh. Meanwhile, four people, including two brothers, were killed in separate incidents of lightning strike during rain and thunderstorm in northern part of Chhattisgarh on Saturday, police said.

Teen’s death sparks tension in Bihar town; family says she was raped, killed

Source: hindustantimes.com

A 16-year-old girl’s death in Bihar’s Bhabua triggered tension in the town on Wednesday after her family alleged she was gang-raped and murdered by three men on Tuesday night.

The victim’s elder sister has accused three men of raping and killing her and filed a complaint at Bhagwanpur police station against two named and one unknown person belonging to a minority community.

Police, however, claimed that the girl has committed suicide and that the postmortem examination of her body has not confirmed rape.

“Prima facie, it seems to be a case of suicide due to a love affair. Police are investigating the case and trying to identify the people who have abetted the girl to end her life,” superintendent of police Dilnawaz Ahmad said.

The postmortem examination was conducted by a medical board at the district hospital in Bhabua and the body was sent to Varanasi for cremation under police protection on Wednesday.

The elder sister also alleged that Saish Ali, the son of Munnu Ansari from the adjacent village of Awasan, was dating the girl and often met her. She claimed her sister had revealed the names of two accused before she died. The girl had no reason to commit suicide as she had gone to the bank to withdraw money, the sister said.

The victim had gone to a bank in Bhabua on Tuesday morning. Her elder sister got a phone call in the evening from Ejaz Ansari alias Sonu, a resident of adjacent village Awasan who works as a nurse with a private hospital in Bhabua. Ansari told the sister that the girl was critical and admitted in the hospital he works for.

The elder sister rushed to the hospital but was asked to deposit Rs 4,000 towards the girl’s treatment before being allowed to meet her. She called a relative and arranged for the money. They also arranged for an ambulance to take away the girl to Varanasi but she died on the way around midnight.

“The accused had raped and poisoned my sister to destroy evidence. They admitted her in a private hospital without the knowledge of police and informed me at the eleventh hour when she was collapsing,” she alleged.

Nirmal Yadav, head of the victim’s village, said the girl’s parents work in Gujarat and left behind their two daughters at home.

Bihar seeks to redefine danger levels in its rivers

Source: hindustantimes.com

After a long time, the Bihar government is going to undertake a massive exercise to revise the danger mark level of all major rivers in the state to make flood-fighting work more effective and reduce chances of false alarm of impending floods in case of rivers in spate in flood-prone districts.

The Bihar State Disaster Management Authority has recommended the idea of redefining the danger level of all major as well as small rivers after a study done on the subject over the last one year.

Experts said the primary reason for revising the danger level of rivers in the state is siltation that has caused the river beds to rise, a reason why the current danger level of rivers measured decades back are not so accurate.

“As the river bed of all majority of rivers has risen over the past many decades due to siltation, the danger level indicators are not so accurate. It often leads to false alarm of impending floods when in reality the river is flowing much below the danger mark. So, a reassessment of the danger level of major rivers is imperative,” said Vyasji, vice-chairman of the state’s disaster management authority.

In Bihar, there are 12 major river basins, including Ganga, Mahananda, Kosi, Bagmati, Sone, Karamnasa, Kamla, Chandan and Gandak, besides a large number of small rivers and their tributaries.

Sources said the state’s disaster management authority had already directed the water resources department and written to the Central Water Commission ( CWC) to start the work, which is going to be a time-consuming exercise. Sources said the government had been given the time to complete the exercise in next couple of months so that the new system comes in place before the rivers go in spate in the state.

The gauge readings of rivers is different from one point to another.

Like in Patna district, the Ganga’s gauge reading is different at Hatihdha , Gandhi ghat and Digha, said Vyasji.

To elaborate, the highest flood level( HFL) of Ganga in Patna was 50.27 metres but was revised to 50.52 metres in 2016.

“The gauge readings are different at many points of rivers and it has to be examined based on different parameters. Besides, the siltation of the rivers will be also taken into account in assessing the danger mark,” he said.

Ganga and Kosi are the major rivers in the state facing heavy siltation and efforts have been made to reduce the sedimentation to lower the river bed.

Kosi deluge in 2008 was one of the worst disasters in the state’s flood history in recent decades. Various studies on river management have put emphasis on regular dredging to reduce the siltation and check floods.

Besides, the disaster management authority also believes the revision of danger mark level of all major rivers, including where barrages have come up, would help check instances of false alarm of floods.

Officials said the water resources department, the parent department responsible for flood management, would be able to make proper flood management plan in advance based on accurate data once the revision is done.

“Whenever a river gets swollen either due to heavy rains or heavy discharge from upstream, panic grips people residing nears the rivers and the administration also starts gearing up resources for flood fighting. But in reality, such alarms are false many a time. So a revision of danger mark of rivers is need of the hour,” said Vyasji.

Bihar: A Muslim Youth Was Brutally Beaten Up & Allegedly Forced to Drink Urine; The Police Arrested Him

Source: newscentral24x7.com

Katihar, Bihar: It has been almost a month since the incident but 25-year-old Saddam Hussain’s injuries haven’t healed. He shows the marks on his back and says, “Where is justice, sir? Where is it? The Constitution talks about justice but a poor person cannot get justice. 20 days ago, the goons tied me up and thrashed me with hammers and iron rods. When I was thirsty, they forced me to drink urine. And when the police came, what did they do? I was taken to Manihari police station and locked up. I was  writhing in pain and begging them to take me to a hospital.”

Since being released from custody, Saddam spends most of his time on a cot in his house in Naya Tola village in Manihari. The injuries on his back and legs still look fresh.

In the din of election, many stories were lost. Saddam’s story is one of them. On May 10, some local goons abducted Saddam and brutally beat him up, and allegedly even forced him to drink urine. Motive — a land dispute. Both sides filed FIRs against each other and the police arrested one person from each side. Saddam was arrested for allegedly setting fire to his attackers’ house.

His mother, Nargis Fatima, tells us, “Saddam has opened a clinic nearby. On that morning, he had come home to fetch a syringe. He was returning to the clinic when those men kidnapped him. They took him to their house and thrashed him brutally.”

She shows a torn, blood stained pair of jeans. “I’ve kept a roza, I can’t lie. The son of Feku Karmakar (the second party to the land dispute) hit me with a lathi twice. He hit me on such a place on my body that I couldn’t even show it to anybody. I was screaming but the police didn’t let me see my son.”

Saddam says that after he was assaulted, he was picked up by the police and detained at the Manihari police station. When his condition started deteriorating, he was taken to the sub divisional hospital which referred him to the Sadar Hospital, Katihar.

Saddam’s cousin, Mohammad Wasim (25), shows pictures on his mobile phone and says, “Saddam was in the hospital for four days. He was handcuffed by the police for all of those days. When he recovered, he was arrested and locked up again. What is justice when the victim is arrested and the criminals roam freely?”

Wasim, who works as a labourer in Delhi’s Palam area, adds, “This land dispute dates 12 years. For the last three years, during the month of Ramzan, these people beat up someone in our family. This time, Saddam was targeted. When I was barely 14 years old, they lodged a malicious FIR and I was jailed. I’ve been witnessing this dispute since then. The administration appears to discriminate on religious basis each time. A false case is registered against us even before we can go file a complaint at the police station. Where do we go?”

Saddam Hussain’s father Abdul Sattar (52) has four brothers — Abdul Razzak (55) is the eldest and Abdul Rauf (50) and Abdul Sobhan (40). 50 years ago, their father Izabul Haq had purchased 66 dismil land in Naya Tola Bahadurpur from Nandkishore Dubey and Sudama Dubey. Since then, they have been paying land tax and getting receipts for the same

Abdul Rauf explians, “The Dubey family left after selling the land. Then, during a survey, it was found that the land was 99 dismil and not 66. We thought that 66 dismil is ours, the remaining 33 should be left vacant for the Dubey family for when they return. Why should we be dishonest. For the remaining land, we even got the receipts issued once so that their land is safe. But in 2007, matters got complicated. When we go to get another receipt issued in Nandkishore Dubey’s name, the official told us that the land has been reduced by 14 dismil. When I asked why, he said that a Basgit parcha ( which is issued by the Collector to a landless person as per the rules laid down in the Bihar Privileged Persons Homestead Tenancy Act 1948) had been issued on this.”

He adds, “We asked in whose name the Basgit parcha has been issued. He said Feku Karmkar, Baijnath Karmkar, Dilip Karmkar and a temple. When we inquired about this at the block level, there was no record of this Basgit parcha. They’ve managed to get a fake parcha issued but it does not mention the boundary. It only mentions the boundary for two sides, there is nothing written for the boundary on the remaining sides.”

Abdul Razzak says, “To avoid any trouble, we filed a title suit in 2007 itself. We had all the evidence then. We even recorded our statements in the court. We asked the Karmakar family to present their evidence in the court but in 12 years, they haven’t managed to submit any receipts. Now, they are forcibly constructing houses on even our land. How can we let this happen?”

Multiple cases related to this dispute have been registered at the Manihari and Amdabad police stations against Saddam’s family. Local administration has been unable to resolve the matter.

Rauf further says, “We don’t want to go to the police station to file a complaint because whenever we go, they lodge an FIR against us only,” adding, “You can see the pattern in the serial number of the FIRs. If the FIR filed by me is serial no. 65, then their FIR would say serial no.66…If mine is 151, theirs will be 152. Meaning — a counter case for each case we file. Sometimes, when we reach the police station to file a complain, we find that an FIR has already been lodged against us and the police arrests us immediately. Hence, now we will file a court case only. We no longer have any faith in the administration.”

However, the Karmakar family puts the blame on the Saddam’s family. Baijnath Karmakar says, “The claim of making him drink urine is completely false. At 8-9 am in the morning, how can one be thirsty? These people have been troubling us since 2007. They even hurl stones at our house.”

When we asked him about submitting evidence in court, he said, “What evidence can we give for a Basigat parcha. The government says that we give the land for you to live on it, not for fighting legal battles. We are only following up on the title suit that they (Saddam’s family) have filed.”

NewsCentral24x7 contacted Manihari police station. Officials there said that the matter is entirely that of a land dispute. There is no mention of the urine incident. The FIR has been lodged on the basis of the victim’s statement only. We even arrested one person from each side. The matter has been hyped up.

However, Saddam disagrees. He says that his statement was not recorded when he was in the hospital. The police had already prepared an FIR and he was made to only sign it. “I am asserting repeatedly that injustice has been done to me. But when the police arrests the victim, what is left to say? What justice should I expect now. This is not justice, sir. This is is not justice.”

Bihar’s 1.48 crore power consumers to get smart prepaid meters by 2020

Source: newindianexpress.com

PATNA: Come August 2020 and Bihar’s 1.48 crore power consumers will get smart prepaid electricity bill measuring meters installed in their houses. 

After successful completion of the target, Bihar would become the first state in the country with all its power consumers availing facility of prepaid electricity meters.

Buoyed by recent Lok Sabha victory, the Nitish Kumar government has directed officials of Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited (BSPHCL) to achieve the target of complete installation of smart prepaid electricity bill measuring metres by August 2020, ahead of the state assembly elections in 2020.

CM Nitish Kumar has assigned the task of completing the installation to chairman-cum-chief managing director(CMD) of BSPHCL Pratay Amrit, who has played an effective role in ensuring the complete electrification of villages in record time in the state. 

In the last five years, Bihar has spent a whopping Rs 55,000 crore on electrification works and ensuring availability of power.
 
The CM while lauding the performances of electricity department at a function organised to inaugurate and kick-start various schemes worth Rs 697 crores on Tuesday, said that department should also achieve the target of installing the prepaid meters on top priority.

“Once the prepaid meters are installed, consumers will face not problems like inflated bills of which is major complaint by consumers”, Kumar said.
 
He also asked the power officials to replace all the old wires within the stipulated time frame and ensure separate power connection under the agriculture incentive plan to the farmers.

Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, also present at the function, said that the number of power consumers in the state has increased from 37 lakh in 2012 to 1.48 crores in 2019.

“Thanks to the ample availability of power in even remotest parts, state government got a huge revenue of Rs 9,072 crores. The ample power availability has reduced the sales of inverters and gensets in the state to a great extent”, Modi said.

Pratay Amrit said that installation works of smart prepaid meters will start in July from Arwal and Sheohar districts of the state. He informed the government in his welcome speech that old wires in 28874 circuit km were replaced. “The number of power sub-stations has increased also from 95 to129 with a registered demand of power around 5389 megawatts in the state”, he said.

Bihar working towards gender equality through empowerment of women: Health minister Mangal Panday

Source: newindianexpress.com

PATNA: Bihar health minister Mangal Panday addressing a conference in Canada’s Vancouver said the state is working towards gender equality through educational and economical empowerment of women.

Panday, who is currently attending a 4-day conference on gender equality and health of women and girls called ‘Women Deliver-2019′ at Vancouver in Canada, said the total fertility rate in a state of India like Bihar has been a matter of serious concern. “But Bihar is working with strong will power to check it down to a great extent through educational and economical empowerments to women and girls”, Panday said, addressing the Planery Session of the conference on Tuesday.

‘Women Deliver-2019’ began on Monday in Canada with PM Justin Trudeau’s inaugural speech in which he said: “Gender equality is under attack globally”. 

The conference is being attended by over 7000 world-leaders, innovators, influencers, change-makers and other personalities involved in social work and gender equality focussed on women and girl child rights from 165 countries.

The conference focuses on three key issues – gender-responsive health systems and services, gender-based violence and women’s economic empowerment and equal opportunity,  facilitating cross-issue dialogues, understanding and collaborations.

Panday speaking at the parliamentary forum of the conference, quoted various initiatives by the Bihar government to decrease the total fertility rate (TFR) and dwelt upon the success of Swasthay mela (Health fairs), which are organised at primary health centres in state regularly.

He also said : “A free of cost inject bale contraceptive called-Antra, has been made available at health centres in 36 districts of state to curb population growth by checking TFR besides a slew of initiatives including the regular health fairs”.

Panday said that Bihar has witnessed decrease in TFR from 4.3 earlier to 3.3 till 2018. “But state health wing is determined to decrease it even drastically through people’s participation and awareness”, he said.


Raghuvansh Prasad Singh’s outreach to Nitish: A sign of churn in Bihar?

Source: business-standard.com

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decimated the opposition in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, but intriguing developments of the past few days suggest space opening up for a possible churn in Bihar politics in the run up to the state Assembly polls by October 2020.

On Tuesday, union minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh ridiculed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and others over their attending ‘iftaar’ parties. In turn, Kumar was dismissive of Giriraj Singh’s comments and said his government would deliver on all its promises much before the Assembly polls.

By evening, BJP sources said party chief Amit Shah had phoned Giriraj Singh and advised him to be careful about his comments, particularly on BJP’s allies.

In his tweet, Giriraj Singh had commented at a photograph of Kumar and other leaders breaking fast at an ‘iftar’. “How beautiful would the picture have emerged, had phalaahaar (a fruit feast) been organised during Navaratra with the same fervour with splendid photographs taken. Why do we lag behind in observance of our own karm-dharm (religious customs) in public, while staying ahead in making a show for those of others,” Singh tweeted in Hindi.

The latest developments come in the wake of Kumar spurning the offer of a cabinet berth in the Narendra Modi-led council of ministers at the Centre, stating that his party does not “symbolic” but “proportional representation”. He, however, denied any “unease” between the allies.

Kumar then expanded his cabinet, including eight ministers, all from the Janata Dal (United) that he leads. He offered the BJP one ministerial berth, which it refused.

On Monday, senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said all non-BJP parties needed to get together to provide a national alternative to the BJP. “We are not allergic to any particular party or leader,” Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said when asked about Kumar’s acceptability.

“It would be even better if all small parties merge together and become a single entity to take on the humongous challenge posed by the BJP,” Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said. He said these were his personal views but RJD chief Lalu Prasad, currently incarcerated, and he have worked together for a long time and thought alike “on most occasions”.

In the just concluded Lok Sabha polls, the RJD could not win a single seat in Bihar. Its ally Congress could win one seat. However, Kumar’s JD(U) won 16, and allies BJP and Lok Janshakti Parthy won 17 and six seats respectively.

The RJD vote share in the Lok Sabha polls was 15.36 per cent, while JD (U)’s was 21.81 per cent, BJP’s 23.58 per cent and LJP’s 7.86 per cent. The Congress bagged a vote share of 7.7 per cent. In 2015 Assembly polls, the alliance of RJD, JD (U) and Congress had defeated the BJP-led NDA in Bihar.

Historically, the JD (U), and its previous avatar of Samata Party, has performed poorly whenever it has fought any election without a strong alliance partner.

The Samata Party, with George Fernandes and Kumar as its top leaders, could win only seven of undivided Bihar’s 324 assembly seats. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the JD (U) could win only two seats. The JD (U) has improved its vote share significantly.

Observers of Bihar politics say Kumar is aware that the BJP might now want the chief ministerial chair for itself after the next Assembly polls. In Maharashtra in 2014, the BJP had severed ties with the Shiv Sena to emerge the single largest party in the Assembly.

However, no other party currently has a leader of the stature of Kumar in Bihar, including the BJP. BJP’s Giriraj Singh is now a cabinet minister in the Modi government, while Bihar BJP state unit chief Nityanand Rai, being groomed as a possible chief minister, is minister of state for home at the Centre but still lacks Kumar’s popularity.

Raghuvansh Prasad Singh’s comments suggest that the parties that came out of the womb of the socialist parties, or the ‘Janata parivar’, could be prepared to come together under Kumar’s leadership. “Now that the results have dented Tejaswi Yadav’s leadership, the challenge from within the family of Lalu Prasad to Kumar has weakened,” a Bihar leader said.

Giriraj Singh, who defeated CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai, has been a known detractor of Kumar’s. “We have never taken utterances of Giriraj seriously. We have always believed in giving respect to all religions and hence we sport a ’tilak’ and also wear skullcaps.” JD(U) spokesman Sanjay Singh said.

The ’tilak’ and skullcap metaphor is reminiscent of the developments of April, 2013, when at his party’s national executive meet in New Delhi Kumar had used the analogy to highlight ideological differences with the BJP, which eventually led to him severing 17-year-old ties between the two parties.

Union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said the BJP-JD(U) and his party’s alliance is “intact”. Former chief ministers Rabri Devi and Jitan Ram Manjhi also appeared to have mellowed towards Kumar. Kumar attended the iftar that Manjhi hosted. Rabri Devi said any decision on inclusion of new allies can be taken only in consultation with all allies.

Union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said the BJP-JD(U) and his party’s alliance is “intact”. Former chief ministers Rabri Devi and Jitan Ram Manjhi also appeared to have mellowed towards Kumar. Kumar attended the iftar that Manjhi hosted. Rabri Devi said any decision on inclusion of new allies can be taken only in consultation with all allies.