raised the issue of cores of rupees given by World Bank to channel
the water of Kosi ($225.1 million during 2010-2014, $162.8 million
during 2007-2015 & another $250 million as part of an agreement
signed on 20 January, 2016 for Bihar Kosi Development Project). I
asked this, knowing that even the most so-called well-informed people
have no clue, where this huge money given by the World Bank to
address the serious flood or flood related issues, is going.
also inquired about the low price of produce that the small farmers
got while their harvests were ready and what the area leaders were
doing about it. The answers to some of the questions were less than
satisfactory, but I’m glad that the MLA at least had some answers
and was aware of most of these issues. In answer to the question of
low price that determined the future crop choice of farmers, the
Kochadhaman MLA said that the Food Corporation of India does not do
any procurement in Bihar while the state government of Bihar buys
paddy and other crops through State Food Corporation.
major problem discussed was the rising cases of road accidents due to
rash driving about which the MLA was almost right that most people in
the area did not have valid driving licences, and whenever caught,
they contacted local MLAs and other representatives who willy-nilly
protected them from the clutches of police or temporarily resolved
the issue. It, however, remains with the people to be aware of the
risks of not having a valid driving licence and furthermore,
indulging in rash and reckless driving which often results in deaths
of innocent people.
participants also complained about poor development and inordinate
delay in building bridges and about the falling standard of education
in government-run schools, especially in the government-aided
madrasas with reports of appointment of poorly qualified teachers.
major concern, which I had also raised during a recent meeting of
Seemanchal Media Manch in New Delhi, to which, I referred during the
interaction, is that: a) Farmers should get a justifiable return for
their produce and for their hard labour and capital that they invest
and, b) The problem of flood should be addressed with an immediate
sense of urgency. The problem faced in the registration of land was
also raised, which unfortunately, was not addressed.
the government of Bihar has any programmes like ‘pledge finance’
on the lines of states like Maharashtra, I am not aware of them, and
if so, I doubt if the farmers have been informed about such
programmes through state administration or public representatives.
Recently, Bihar government launched ‘organic farming promotion
programme’ in some of the districts which would hopefully benefit
these remain the core issues, it is for the people of Seemanchal to
see if the people they vote for keep their promises made in the high
spring of electoral politics or forget them once they are elected:
something which needs a serious thought as discussions are cropping
up in different social fora in view of the next general election
which will decide the future of the country (at least for another
five years) and which will leave its impact on Seemanchal including
the prevalent culture of hero worship, corruption and nepotism as
well as the practice of populism which derives Muslim politics at
large (I say this because Kishanganj is a Muslim-majority district
where a culture of cult, casteism, sectarianism and partisan politics
decides our course of action), I wonder to see any change in times to
growing ambivalence with the sacred, public morality,
call-of-conscience, and dissatisfaction with the incumbent
dispensation, I am looking forward to hear some intellectually
stimulating inputs from some serious quarters. Till then, as they
say, it is politics as usual.
author is a PhD student at the Academy of International Studies,
Jamia Millia Islamia and is also doing an online research program on
“Advancing scientific and theological literacy in madrasa
discourses” of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA.