Political lantern jeered at in electrified reality
With all the 39,073 villages and 1,06,249 ‘tolas’ (tiny hamlets) in Bihar having been successfully electrified, the state’s ruling NDA hopes the feat will help it harvest rich electoral rewards. When Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made the announcement at a function of the energy department in Patna, he could not hide his pride and glee. His audience burst into laughter when he said: “The ‘lalten’ (hurricane lantern) and ‘dhibri’ (oil lamp) would not exist in the state after a certain period”. Even though he did not name any political party or leader, it was clear he was obliquely referring to the state’s main Opposition party RJD, whose election symbol happens to be the lantern. NDA leaders often dub RJD’s 15-year rule in Bihar between 1990 and 2005 as a “dark age”.
Action mooted on buses flouting tourist permits
In the wake of a controversial bus mishap in Bihar, in which the casualty figures fell from 27 to zero in just a few hours, the state’s transport department has focused its attention on violation of all-India tourist permits. More than 200 buses ferry passengers from Bihar to neighbouring states and also to far-off places such as New Delhi daily by flouting the rules of all-India permit, said officials. While the permits are for tourism purpose, the buses ferry regular passengers. Nearly 20 such buses run from Muzaffarpur to New Delhi every day, allegedly with the nexus of transport officials. Most of these buses are registered in UP, though their owners are from Bihar. State transport secretary Sanjay Kumar Agrawal said a probe has been ordered into such illegal practices and that action would soon be taken.
Country’s 12th fastest growing airport in Patna
The latest report on passenger flow at airports released by Airports Authority of India (AAI) has placed Jayaprakash Narayan International (JPNI) Airport in Patna as the 12th fastest growing airport in the country. The airport, which ranked 18th just a year ago, registered 47.3 per cent rise in passenger flow in the last fiscal, significantly up from a 33.3 per cent rise in the previous fiscal, said the data. While the airport handled 21,12,150 flyers in 2016-17, the number rose to 31,11,273 in 2017-18. The growth in passenger numbers is attributed mainly to the constant rise in the number of flights operating from JPNI – from ten in 2012-13 to 38 now. With late night operation of flights having already started in the airport in March, flyer flow is expected to grow further in the coming months.
Energy efficiency is mantra for city lights
Streets, byroads and mohallas in all the 75 wards of the Bihar capital are set to shine with new light shortly. Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has started replacing the existing sodium vapour street lights with energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. It will take three months for Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the company executing the Rs 45-crore project, to fix 50,000 LED bulbs in all the wards, said Mayor Sita Sahu. Before the company started work, the councillors had submitted reports marking the spots in their areas where electric poles were to be installed for proper lighting. Patnaites now expect scores of dark or ill-lit sites in their neighbourhoods would benefit from the project. Well-lit roads across the city, they hope, will provide a safer atmosphere for residents and commuters.