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18 December 2011

SPECIAL REPORT: Bad law and order, Education turmoil exposes Bihar Chief Mnister Nitish Kumar’s ‘sushasan’ bluff

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By H.R. Ahmad

Patna: The much-trumpeted "good governance" or "sushasan" of media-savy chief minister Nitish Kumar now stands exposed with both secondary and higher education and law and order situation in Bihar having touched the rock-bottom.

Education is supposed to be the backbone of a state, but Nitish government has made a mess of it in Bihar by appointing sub-standard teachers in both primary and secondary schools on a meagre salary of Rs 6 to 8 thousand per month, while a peon or clerks' salary in the same schools is much higher than that of theirs resulting in frustration and inferiority complex among them. Consequently, they staged demonstration in Patna sometime back demanding perk and benefit at par with regular teachers, but instead of redressing their genuine grievances, they had to face water cannons and lathicharge.

Mr. Kumar's claim to provide quality education even to the people living on the margins of society is nothing but eyewash. Mr. Kumar introduced several populist measures in secondary schools, including distribution of bicycles among students, which did result in the maximum number of admission, but students begin to funk classes after getting bicycles, as school sources said. The distribution of midday meal in primary schools in order to attract kids of the poor and lower strata of society to schools has proved to be a total failure. Cockroaches were often found in the meal inviting guardian's wrath.

Intermediate was delinked from degree colleges. Most of the schools upraded upto +2 level are faced with treacher's crunch. In this way, intermediate level teaching in these schools is almost a non-starter. These schools have become just a means of enrolment and filling up examination forms.

Qualified and competent persons prefer to make their living by running coaching institutes in big towns and cities rather than working as teachers in primary or secondary schools. The less said about higher education in Bihar, the better.

Not a single appointment has been made in any college and university ever since Nitish
Kumar came to power. The running tug-of-war between Raj Bhawan and government is said to have put a permanent full stop on the appointment of teachers in colleges and universities as the bill for the reconstitution of University Service Commission which, interestingly enough, had been dissolved by Nitish government itself sometime back, has been lying pending in Raj Bhawan for governor's assent.

Mr Kumar may pat his back for taking initiative in restoring its pristine golory to the ancient Nalanda University. If the plan does not take off, education in Bihar will be, in no way, affected. But if academic situation in hundreds of colleges deteriorates, the career of thousands of students will be jeopardised. Mr. Kumar is the chief minister who takes delight more in playing to the gallary than doing anything worthwhile. Sub-standard materials are being used in the construction of roads in connivance with the officials concerned. Newly-constructed roads develop not only holes but also potholes in a few months.

Being shrewder than Laloo Yadav who was more vocal than enough, Mr. Kumar trumpeted a lot about giving three decimal of land to Mahadalit families for the construction of a cemented house, but it is yet to materialise. What has actually brought

Mr. Kumar immediate name and fame both at national and international leve is media's undue indulgence towards him.

A commoner's complaint or his voice is often lost in wilderness. He runs from pillar to post – from Janata Darbar of CM to that of DM, but his problem is not resolved.

Bureaucracy has become all-powerful during Nitish regime. Noboday has the courage to raise his voice against an officer. His senior turns a deaf ear to his complaint. Consequently, he feels emboldened enough to have his way.

The law and order situation in Bihar is, in no way, better than that of Laloo-Rabri regime. Bank robbery, rape, kidnapping, murder and Maoists' violence have become the order of the day. Seven bank robberies are reported from Gaya district alone in the last six months, which poorly reflects on his good governance.

Similarly, a young lady was stripped in broad daylight in full public view in Patna. A youth injured in police firing was stomped by a police jawan in Forbesganj, which hit the headlines of several national dailies. When such incidents took place during Laloo-Rabri regime, they were collected and published together with bold headlines. Media sat in judgement and called it "jungle raj", but many such incidents are taking place even today. No print media calls Nitish-government "jungle raj". Media has, in fact, become a pawn in the hands of Mr. Kumar" asserted former Rajya Sabha member and vetran communist leader Jalaluddin Ansari. Consequently, media has fallen from public grace for its venality. Both print and electronic media except ETV Bihar prefer to sing hosannas about Mr. Kumar rather than highlighting facts and figures honestly.

[H. R. Ahmad is a Journalist based in Bihar. He is a Press Correspondent with Hindustan Times. He is also associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Bihar). He can be contacted at hafizruknuddin@gmail.com]

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