By Goutam Shankar Das
Jharkhand is 18 years old today. Frog-jumping over its nascent days, it is now in its adolescent era. Irrespective of political observations, Jharkhand has indeed progressed though a bit on the slower side. Jharkhand has seen seven governments in its run as a separate state. Each government has had programs chalked out for economic development but quick change of ministries has not allowed the policymakers ample time for the plethora of schemes to see the light of day.
However, it must be said that all the governments have tried to resolve many social issues though not succeeding always. Some headway has been made through these 18 years with roads, canals, electricity, harvesting paraphernalia and housing for the perennially poor denizens getting top priority, giving the health of Jharkhand a touch of pink.
The center and state have introduced many plans and programs and gradually, these are coming to light. Old age pension scheme is no longer in the doldrums. Camps are still being organized at block levels to ensure disbursal of old age and widow pensions. The latest glitter to the cup of achievements is the introduction of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (Ayushman Bharat) in Jharkhand.
No longer will poverty prevent the economic bottom scrapers from getting treatment in hospitals and nursing homes affiliated to the scheme. It may not be out of place to mention here that the list of hospitals and nursing homes is growing.
Financial assistance in cash and kind is being provided to farmers and rural artisans. The cobwebs in cottage industry, especially in the handloom and handicraft segments, are being visibly cleared with the financial and schematic assistance being converted into realities.
Yes, there is certainly scope for more. A few posers that occasionally create an itch in the thought process remain unanswered. Jharkhand state is a goldmine of natural resources; are they being fully utilized for the growth process? How many trained rural youth after the various training schemes have found employment or self employment? Why is there still exodus of skilled or semi skilled labors to other states? Why are the builders not being checked for luring the simple tribal folks, in spite of the terms and conditions of the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act, thereby ‘stealing’ their cultivable land? How many sons of the soil finding employment in industries built on the land of their forefathers?
Many such questions rattle faith built on expectations out of a separate state for which Birsa Munda, Sidho-Kanho and many other unknown martyrs died for a cherished dream of freedom which ultimately and after many more struggles and death, did arrive 18 years ago, fanning the fire of hope and aspirations of a deprived humanity. Ultimately, they swayed to the tunes and danced to the beats with the expectation of a new sunshine – the birth of their dreams — Jharkhand.
The basket of freedom could have been exploited more had political bickering not taken centre stage. Politicians and political parties have been more active in the cynical games of leg pulling and unholy alliances based on selfish agenda. Sure, there should be an opposition wing to keep the treasury bench on the right track but what is happening in Jharkhand state is a state of chaos.
The citizens of this state are flummoxed by the tons of promises being made by right, left and centre dream merchants. The big houses have the dice while the citizens are mere pawns. They have been kept away from the enactments behind the scenes of political drama.
These are not stray thoughts or mere concoctions of a weird mind. These are reality checks emanating from the conscience of a proud citizen of this state who still nurtures dreams of a happy and content Jharkhand sans the political potions being cooked by the witches of Macbeth.
Good schemes have been launched and if the political stable is allowed to be stable, Jharkhand will gradually emerge from the soot of poverty to a promising dawn of all round progress – the dream bag of people of Jharkhand state.