What a volatile November! Scams, scams and more scams. First the Adarsh housing society scam then Obama comes calling. Then as soon as he leaves, Ashok Chavan, CM, Maharashtra gets fired and so does Suresh Kalmadi. Then Nira Radia tapes surface and reveal the murky deals of the 2G spectrum allocation a'la Raja of communication. Even before the dust has settled with the PM coming under pressure for having shielded Raja, Nitish Kumar sweeps Bihar polls and makes Congress eat humble pie while decimating Lalu Yadav altogether. The Karnataka CM continues to cling onto his seat refusing to resign while the AP CM calls it quits and a new CM of AP gets appointed. Next day, the housing finance scam breaks as the CBI raid and arrest LIC Housing Finance CEO and some others involved in extending loans for real estate against bribes. Phew!
Now let us look at the positive side. Suresh Kalmadi and Ashok Chavan were living on borrowed time as they had already been indicted in the CWG and Adarsh scams. So as soon as Obama left they were shown the door. Raja too was a thorn in the flesh of Congress. The Nira Radia tapes gave Congress the leverage to get Raja out of the way. Nitish Kumar's victory is a sign that development triumphs over caste and religion politics. Two things that aptly describe this victory are improved law and order in the state and good roads.
Under utilisation of funds demarcated for development has been a constant cause of the under development of the regions much to the chagrin of the erstwhile leaders of these under developed states. Nitish Kumar laid over 25 per cent of the road network during his tenure than that was added since independence (total length of all-weather roads stands at 46,107 km - of which nearly 10,000 km has been built since 2006-07). Five years since, the outlay and expenditure are evenly matched at Rs 3,045.65 crore.
Further, the state built more than 2,100 bridges over rivers and water bodies. Resultantly, revenues of state-run Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam, have jumped from Rs 43 crore in 2004-05 under the previous government to Rs 858 crore in 2008-09. According to road construction department sources, around 50 per cent of over 13,000 km of district roads, state highways and national highways have been upgraded. A major part of the work is likely to be completed this year.
Development is clearly the way to go. With the new CM in Maharashtra, hopefully we will see some action on the ground. Already with the Navi Mumbai airport having been passed, all eyes are on the Nhava Sheva Sealink. Gujarat, under Modi, is in super shape. He has kept his eye on the ball and is reaping dividends of development.
Amidst volatility, CW - Gulf edition participated at the BIG 5 show in Dubai. Seen in the photographs are Wolfgang Penzias, Austrian Trade Commissioner; Hans-Joerg Hoertnagi, Austrian Commercial Counsellor; and Dato' Dzulkifli, Sr Trade Commissioner Consul, Malaysia.