Saturday, May 19, 2007

Over ten million tourists visited Bihar in 2006

More than ten million tourists, including 94,446 foreigners, visited Bihar last year.

This was possible despite the bifurcated state having limited infrastructural facilities and not so encouraging law and order situation.

Official sources, qouting latest available figures here today, said of the total 1,07,64714 tourists between January and December 2006, 20,12,647, including 3964 foreigners, visited the capital city. This was followed by 11,40,108 tourists, including 3338 foreigners, visiting Gaya and 5,13,790, including 52,917 foreigners, going to Bodhgaya last year.

These apart a total of 3,48,22 domestic and 10,885 foreign tourists visited Rajgir,1,41,547 domestic and 2469 foreign visitors toured Raxaul near Indo-Nepal border during the same period, the sources said. Even in Vaishali more than 2.61 domestic and 11,461 foreign visitors arrived followed by 65,639 tourists, including 8703 foreigners, in Muzaffarpur.

About 400,000 tourists, including 1709 foreigners also visited Sonepur,the site of the world's largest cattle fair,last year.

Describing the difference between the number of domestic and foreign visitors in the state was very wide primarily because of inadequate facilities and poor law and order besides, several other factors,the sources said,however, necessary steps had already been initiated to promote Bihar tourism in big way.

Keeping in mind the huge growth potential of tourism in the mineral rich state which also enjoyed a considerable forest cover besides being rich in flora and fauna,the state government had chalked out a plan to promote tourism in a big way and had appointed a consultant so that more tourists could come to the state,the sources added.

--- UNI

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Daughters of Bihar to appear in UNICEF calendar

It needs to be mentioned that Gudia Khatoon and Lalita also figured in the calendar on girls’ theme prepared by the Government of India. All the girls are achievers in their own way given the constraints they had to face.

Ten years old Abilasha Kumari from Lalbagh village of Nalanda district is the deputy education minister of her school. Not only is she a painter, but she convinced parents to send their daughters to school. About 50 girls of her village now go to school just because of her efforts.

Lalita of Khopraha village in Sitamarhi hails from Musahar community, the most backward of the Dalit sub-caste. She has appeared in Class-Xth exam recently and is a judo trainer.

Gudia Khatoon of Gaya was picked up by the UNICEF for the “State of the World’s Children” report in London. Angoori Khatoon of Muzaffarpur also acquired education when the circumstances did not favour her.

Payal, Savitri and Baby from Begusarai overcame opposition to make a mark in swimming, Sheela Kumari of Chapra and Chandini of Vaishali, both physically disabled set an example as to how disability can not be a handicap for those with a positive outlook on life.

The calendars with photographs of these girls will be distributed to all the schools free of cost by the BEP, said its Director, Anjani Kumar Singh.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sweet fuel to motor Bihars growth dreams

t could be a strange coincidence that when Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat launched ethanol-blended petrol in Delhi on Tuesday, Bihar also chipped in with its share of ‘sweet dreams’. The state’s two sugar mills supplied around one lakh litres of ethanol to the oil companies for being mixed with petrol.

“This is the first step towards gradually reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and increasing the use of alternative fuels that are renewable,” Bihar Sugarcane Minister Nitish Mishra said on Tuesday.

Ethanol is an organic fuel derived from sugarcane and molasses. Bihar is one of the states which has been allowed to add five per cent of ethanol as additive in petrol.

“The Riga Sugar Mill in Sitamarhi and Swadeshi Sugar Mill in Narkatiganj have supplied 60,000 litres and 36,000 litres of ethanol respectively to the oil companies,” said Mishra, adding that though the quantities are relatively small, it is a quantum leap towards Bihar becoming an ethanol hub.
The state has already attracted investment proposals of around Rs 15,000 crore for setting up several 5,000 TCD (tones crushed per day)— sugar complexes, which, in turn, would yield white crystal sugar, produce ethanol and co-generate power. “If a 5,000 TCD unit witnesses 150 days of crushing, around 500 lakh litres of ethanol will be produced,” explained the minister.

To reduce the oil import bill and tap the potential of Bihar, which is the most ideal place for production of sugarcane in terms of distance from equator, soil-type and availability of water, the state government has amended the law also.

“We have amended the Bihar Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1981, and now sugarcane juice can be directly used for producing ethanol or rectified spirit,” said Mishra, dwelling at length how Bihar was the first state which decided to allow production of ethanol directly from sugarcane juice instead of the normal practice of processing sugarcane to produce sugar, and using the molasses to produce ethanol.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Minister for Tourism and Culture Smt. Ambika Soni informed the Rajya Sabha today that the Archaeological Survey of India has filed a case before the Hon'ble High Court, Patna praying for removal of the unauthorized and illegal constructions within the protected monument of 'Tomb of Sher Shah' in Sasaram.

The Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Patna Circle has approached the District Authority for revival of inlet and outlet channels and to prevent the immersion of idols, washing of cloth, etc. to ensure flow of clean water.

In a written reply she said, for the conservation of the tomb and its proper development, a provision of Rs.23 lakhs has been made for the year 2007-08, details of which are at the annexure.


Item of Works

Estimated Amount

(i) Conservation of Graveyard around the tomb, construction of pathway and other developmental works.


(ii) Conservation of flanking kiosks, boundary wall including development of main entrance of the tomb


(iii) Minor repairs of the monuments and day to day maintenance, clearance of aquatic and chocked outlet and provision of hume pipe to pass out the surplus water from ancient tank to outlet channel.


(iv) Provision for Toilet Blocks, store/camp office and fixing of cultural Notice Board etc.



Rs. 23,00,000

Rajdhani to Delhi daily from May-end

Railways are all set to run the bi-weekly Patna-New Delhi Rajdhani Express (2309-2310) daily by the end of this month.

Railway minister Lalu Prasad had announced increase in its frequency in the rail budget presented in the Lok Sabha on February 26.

According to Danapur DRM Pankaj Jain, the division is fully prepared to run the prestigious train daily. Though a date is yet to be decided, the change is likely to be effected after May 20 with no change in the load combination of 14 coaches.

"We are already running two other prestigious trains — Sampoorna Kranti Express and Garib Rath — on the Patna-Delhi route daily with full occupancy," Jain said, adding the railways have also increased the speed limit up of all superfast trains on the route to 110-120 kmph.

He said the Railway Board has been monitoring the movement of each train either terminating at or passing through Patna Junction to maintain punctuality.

The division has of late been receiving several pairs of long-distance trains from various railway zones behind the schedule. Most of the trains originating from Patna Junction get a bit late due to their late arrival in the division. "The board has directed all railway zones concerned to maintain punctuality," the DRM said. According to sources, the ECR has set up a cell at the headquarters level at Hajipur to monitor the run of each mail and express train either originating from or passing through its five divisions. However, the main focus is on Patna Junction with the railway minister recently directing the officials concerned to improve punctuality of trains here.

The DRM said railways have been carrying out both primary and secondary maintenance of passenger coaches in the division. While primary maintenance takes at least five to six hours for the entire rake to get ready for a run, the secondary maintenance consumes about two to three hours to make the entire rake fit for its departure. This maintenance is a must from safety point of view, he said.

Signature campaign for Kalam's second term

Patna, May 15: A social organisation in Bihar has launched a signature campaign in support of a second term for President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam whose tenure ends in July.

"We have already collected hundreds of signatures since the campaign started Monday. We will collect signatures of as many people as possible in support of a second term for the popular president," Rajeev Lochan Prasad, convenor of the Patna-based Rational Thinker Organisation, said Tuesday.

He said the campaign was aimed at creating a massive people-friendly lobby for Kalam. "We have been collecting signatures of intellectuals, students, professionals, government employees, businessmen as well as labourers to show support for him among all sections of soceity," he said.

Volunteers of the organisation are distributing forms to people seeking their views and their signature in support of their cause.

Lochan said his organisation would collect "enough" number of signatures from Bihar and other states in coming weeks. "We will send copies of the forms to leading political parties to seek their support for Kalam."

He added that the campaign had received tremendous response from people. "When we started the campaign in the Patna Medical College and Hospital premises on Monday, we were not sure of support from medical students and teachers but it was a hit," Lochan said.

The dominant view among the people about Kalam was that he had the vision and determination "to make India a superpower by 2020", Lochan said.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Possibilty of 2000 yr old civilisation in Bihar, artefacts discovered

Saharsa, May 14: The discovery of an ancient ringwell and some decorated broken earthen pots in digging at the house of a villager at Mahishi in the district last week, has opened up the possibility of discovering a 2000 year old ancient civilisation in the area.

The incident came to light when Manoj Choudhury, a former panchayat pradhan of Mahishi, ordered digging up of his residence's backyard fro erection of a cellphone tower on Friday last.

After digging nearly ten feet into the ground, the labourers suddenly hit something big.

Everyone present at the spot thought that they had found some underground treasure trove but following careful observation and some specialised digging, remains of about a five feet long and nearly three feet wide big earthen ringwell came to the fore, generating tremendous curiosity among the villagers.

Encouraged by the sudden discovery and hoping to find an underground treasure, further digging continued in and around the area for some more time following which several other pieces of decorated earthen pots were recovered.

Failing to understand what to do with the sudden discovery of these underground ''invaluable treasurers'', the local government officials were soon informed, who in turn contacted the
ASI (ASI) in Patna for an on the spot visit to access the historial value of the findings.

Though no proper step to preserve the discovered items had yet been taken by the ASI or government, the preliminary observations have revealed that the artefacts were nearly 2000 years old, and might indicate that a thriving civilisation existed in the area.

Incidentally, the ASI had already identified at least four ancient mounds in the district including those at Kandaha and Bongaon for starting excavation of the remains of possibly the 'Maurya period'', which existed within the precints of the district long time ago.

However, with the discovery of several artifacts at Mahishi, a new chapter of Indian history might have now flung opened, signalling the existence of even an older civilisation in this part of Eastern India for long.