Friday, June 11, 2010

Patna Airport and The Juggernaut of Bihar's economic development

When news came of Bihar being the second fastest growing state in India, there was all round skepticism, even derision in some quarters. I remember the TV debate in which a geriatric retired member of the Indian Planning Commission tried to deride the suave NK Singh by hinting that as the basic data is supplied by the state government, there is reason to doubt it. Funny why he never doubted the data from any other state or even Bihar data for years when its growth was slower. Bizarre was the statement of Mr Pronab Sen, the Chief Statistician of India who, in spite of the data being released by his own Central Statistical Organization, claimed it is not his data. He was probably implying that he is a mere clerk whose job is to tabulate the data given by the state governments.

I am happy to say that there a been continued flow of data which supports the story of an economic turnaround in Bihar. There was the news of Bihar being the fastest growing cement consumer in India, then the huge growth in foreign tourists in Bihar (mostly Gaya) and now there is the news of Patna being the fastest growing airport in India. Year on year, it had a massive 60.8% growth in passenger traffic. Having been a regular user of the Patna airport since 1988, I always believed in the potential of the airport. I have seen withdrawal of the regular international flights from Kathmandu, the introduction of the IA flight to Mumbai in the early nineties via Ahmadabad and later by Sahara via Lucknow or Ranchi, the increasing frequency of the flights to Delhi and so on. I always found the flights to be full and getting a ticket never easy. So I always felt that there was scope to have more flights. In this context, I was very surprised when IA discontinued its flight to Mumbai. As a private citizen and one who is directly affected, I tried to take this up with the authorities but was told that this is a commercial decision taken due to lack of traffic. I found it strange since all the flights I had taken on this sector around that time were pretty much full. Thankfully, it is the age of liberalization and private carriers took up the space and we soon had Mumbai - Patna flights by Kingfisher and Go Air proving my hunch to be right. There is the similar story of telecom. When a modern day enterprise like Airtel, free from biases or a blinkered view of Bihar, came to the state, telecom took off in Bihar and the current growth is quite in step with the rest of the country.

This growth amply proves that when Bihar has been given a chance, it has delivered. These nail the lie that there is something inherently wrong with Bihar. These negate the cynicism of the likes of the above mentioned planner who have hitherto dominated economic policy. Historically,they have come up with harebrained schemes like the Freight Equalization Scheme and then blaming Bihar! In spite of these obstacles, Bihar has delivered. Now it is for the rest of the country, particularly the central government, to amend policies which can accelerate this growth.

On the airport specifically, Patna is a very small runway and very little scope to increase its length or the operational area. So a modern airport with facility to land aircraft like A380 is required. I know the planners may find the idea laughable, but given that Bihar is a landlocked state with a massive and increasingly prosperous non resident population. There is vast scope of tourism given the holy places of the Buddhists and Jains in Bihar. There is no reason to continue to penalize the poor migrant from Siwan by forcing him to go t Delhi and then take a flight to Dubai. (Siwan has among the largest Indians in the gulf). The international hub of Singapore is just two hours away. A good airport at Patna will convert the trickling traffic to a gushing stream. I hope Praful Patel as also the authorities at Patna listen to the changing times and take appropriate steps.

61 comments:

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Gunjan Kumar said...

"Patna Airport and The Juggernaut of Bihar's economic development"

Thanks
http://bihar.infozones.in

Arvind said...

Congratulations to people of Bihar for their wonderful victory! Congratulations to people of Bihar for choosing Law and Order, education and developemt over Crime, Kidnapping and Caste!

Even Sri Lalu Yadav's own son, daughter, son-in-law and their families should feel proud that people of Bihar have chosen Developent, Law and order, education over casteism, kidnapping, coruption and crime. They should all join Sri Nitishji in developing Bihar further. India is our country and Bihar is our state by birth. If something bad happens in India, some people in USA look down upon us. If something bad happens in India, some people in other Indian states look down upon us. As a citizen on India and as someone born in Bihar, we all have responsibility towards doing whatever we can for developing our country and for developing our state. People expect that from us and it is our moral responsibility.

Corrupt politicains had made Bihar into a national joke and a matter of Shame. They had made Bihar into 'Pakistan of India' and a matter of 'national concern'. Educated, peace-loving people were leaving Bihar at great rate. In spite of all our personal education, degrees, hard-work, integrity, honesty, character, job, post and personal achievements, some people still look down upon us just because we were 'born in Bihar'!

Sri Lalu Yadav is credited with doing wonderful job as Railway Minister. However, he destroyed Bihar. He made it a subject of national redicule and shame. India made tremendous progress from 1990 to 2005. However, Bihar went further down and the gap beween Bihar and rest of the country widened greatly.

Under Sri Nitishji's administartion, Bihar has turned corners and has made Amazing Progress in last five years. Even Sri Lalu's own grandsons and granddaughters must feel safer in Bihar today than they were five years back. Sri Lalu Yadav should recognize it. If possible, Laluji should join Nitishji in developeing Bihar. I always thought Laluji was an intelligent man – he is credited with doing wonderful job as Railway Minister - I don't know why he made Bihar such a backward and crime-ridden state. Sri Laluji played a great part in making being Bihari a matter of concern for everybody born in Bihar, irrespctive of education, bakground and personal character.

Bihar was in a very difficult situation that looked grim and hopeless. If it kept going that way, Bihar could have become a 'national problem' as Pakistan and Afganistan have become an 'international problem'. By turning corners, Nitishji has done an incredible job. With girls walking on roads at 9.00 PM in night without fear – Bihar is a greatly changed place from one kidnapping a day!

Nitishji is in my opinion, the 'modern Gandhi' of Bihar and if can do this kind of development for five more years – I think he should be given Bharat Ratna!

Arvind said...

Congratulations to people of Bihar for their wonderful victory! Congratulations to people of Bihar for choosing Law and Order, education and developemt over Crime, Kidnapping and Caste!

Even Sri Lalu Yadav's own son, daughter, son-in-law and their families should feel proud that people of Bihar have chosen Developent, Law and order, education over casteism, kidnapping, coruption and crime. They should all join Sri Nitishji in developing Bihar further. India is our country and Bihar is our state by birth. If something bad happens in India, some people in USA look down upon us. If something bad happens in India, some people in other Indian states look down upon us. As a citizen on India and as someone born in Bihar, we all have responsibility towards doing whatever we can for developing our country and for developing our state. People expect that from us and it is our moral responsibility.

Corrupt politicains had made Bihar into a national joke and a matter of Shame. They had made Bihar into 'Pakistan of India' and a matter of 'national concern'. Educated, peace-loving people were leaving Bihar at great rate. In spite of all our personal education, degrees, hard-work, integrity, honesty, character, job, post and personal achievements, some people still look down upon us just because we were 'born in Bihar'!

Harish said...

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Bihar,

This is a article appeared in ECONOMIST website.

Rickshaws in Patna
Three wheels good
Oct 21st 2010, 18:05 by A.R. | PATNA

BIHAR, India’s poorest state, has never been an easy place to do business. But with its GDP said to be growing by a merry 11% each year, more outsiders are eager to try. A few years ago there were one or two daily flights from Delhi; now there are seven or eight, most of them pretty full. Yet not much is moving fast on the ground. Step off your plane in Patna, the state capital with over a million residents, and you are lucky to find a taxi to the city. At Patna's plushest hotel (perhaps an overstatement) renting a set of wheels proved impossible on some days this week (on another, more fortuitously, your correspondent rode around in a splendid white Ambassador car, a 1940s-style beast of a vehicle usually favoured by elderly officials).

A few horse-drawn carts are still evident on the streets, along with throngs of bicycle rickshaws with tinkling bells, but the latter seem only to ply set routes. Auto-rickshaws (auto-tuks, the equivalent of the tuk-tuks of Thailand) honk endlessly and spew blue exhaust across the city, but it’s tricky to persuade a driver to change his route, at least if you are not fluent in Hindi. So all praise to the latest innovation to reach Patna: the metered auto-tuk. You can book from a central office, let the meter tick along quietly and explain to your driver to cut across town. Then sit back and marvel as he drives through the crowds, the exhaust and the swirling traffic and takes you directly where you want to go. A modern marvel.

I am a director of Smart Commuting Services Pvt. Ltd., the company that runs this service in Patna, under the branding of EASY AUTO.

We started this service in Bangalore and were called in to start in Patna by the Government. I have to say that my experience in Patna, in terms of the cooperation that we received from the bureaucracy in Bihar was amazing.

In Bihar, things get done at the wink of an eye hood, whether it is for permissions to start a pre-paid auto stands or to get an autorickshaw permit.

Kudos to Nitish and all the very best for the next term. We are working with the Government to make it a project of approx 5 million USD.

Banks are ready to lend and Government is ready to guarantee the bank on their exposure, on the condition the project beneficiaries will be from lower castes and BPL families.

My appeal to all who are from this state to help us by being a part of the same. We are looking for funds from all parts of the world. We promise handsome returns and also, you can be proud that you too are a part of the "CHANGE" in BIHAR.

I have decided that being a BIHARI is no more what it used to be and in the long term I don't mind being one.

If you are touching Patna, I will be delighted to show case our activity.

Please extend the privilege.

--
With Warm Regards,

Harish.B
Chief Strategist
Internet World Wide - Brand Owners of www.HostisyngSeva.com
Smart Commuting Services Pvt Ltd. - Brand Owners of Easy Auto
Mob: 9234 69 69 69

N A W A B said...

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saket said...

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Ravi Shanker said...

This is good write up. I think bihar has many more such potential areas for growth like education.

http://opportunityineducation.blogspot.com/

I am sure with new growth Bihar will see many more airports.

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MahaVihaar said...

Please vote for - Maha Vihaar Magadh Party Dal -

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavihara

- We will make Bihar a 'Maha Vihaara' - the education and progress capital of the
world once again !!!

hi.wikipedia.org/s/757 , hi.wikipedia.org/s/22g
--
Apna bahumulya vote kewal dein - Maha Vihaar Magadh Party Dal ko

https ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavihara

- Hum punah Bihar ko 'Maha Vihaara' bana denge - vishwa ki shiksha evam pragati ki raajdhani !!!
hi.wikipedia.org/s/757 , hi.wikipedia.org/s/22g

MahaVihaar said...

Please vote for - Maha Vihaar Magadh Party Dal -

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavihara

- We will make Bihar a 'Maha Vihaara' - the education and progress capital of the
world once again !!!

hi.wikipedia.org/s/757 , hi.wikipedia.org/s/22g
--
Apna bahumulya vote kewal dein - Maha Vihaar Magadh Party Dal ko

https ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavihara

- Hum punah Bihar ko 'Maha Vihaara' bana denge - vishwa ki shiksha evam pragati ki raajdhani !!!
hi.wikipedia.org/s/757 , hi.wikipedia.org/s/22g

_ Sampoorna maanav jaati ka vikaas !

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This comment has been removed by the author.
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Shivanya Srivastava said...

Really a nice blog! Bihar is one of the most largest state of India. And Patna is the capital and most beautiful city of this state. The airport of this city is developing day by day. And now Patna is well developed and well connected by road. You can visit many historical and full of natural beauty places in Patna by car rental or taxi services in Patna. You can hire a car for local and outstation visit.

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