Top higher educational institutions, care for heritage: Post-poll expectations of Patna's well-known families | Education - Hindustan Times
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Top higher educational institutions, care for heritage: Post-poll expectations of Patna's well-known families

PTI |
May 30, 2024 11:33 AM IST

Top higher educational institutions, care for heritage: Post-poll expectations of Patna's well-known families

Patna, State-of-the-art higher educational institutions, urban renewal with sensitive planning and upkeep of shrinking built heritage are among the post-poll expectations of some of Patna's well-known families.

Top higher educational institutions, care for heritage: Post-poll expectations of Patna's well-known families
Top higher educational institutions, care for heritage: Post-poll expectations of Patna's well-known families

Polling will be held in the two Lok Sabha seats under Patna district Patna Sahib and Pataliputra on June 1.

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Both the seats have over 43 lakh electors.

Businessman Abhay Kanoria, 59, who comes from an affluent Marwari family of Patna and calls himself a proud Bihari, feels the state has the potential to regain its lost glory.

"My expectations for Patna from the government that will come to power, is that it should help establish some state-of-the-art academic institutions here. We have a lot of good schools here, but after 12th, students just want to leave Patna and do not want to study in existing universities in Bihar, as they don't get the quality of education they can get elsewhere," Kanoria told PTI here.

He alleged that bureaucratic red tape has "lessened" but still exists, and there are still some law and order issues too which need to be addressed.

He acknowledged the presence of IIT-Patna, AIIMS-Patna and some management institutions, but lamented that there is no industry here and corporate houses do not have offices in the capital city, though he appreciated the start-ups coming up in the state.

Kanoria, the fifth in the line of descent from his great great grandfather who had moved to Patna from Rajasthan, is a part of a family-run business which also owns the over 80-year-old Marwari Awas Griha, a boarding and lodging facility on Fraser Road in the heart of the city.

"We are a family that has lived here for nearly 200 years. Our HUF firm was the first income-tax payee in Patna in 1870s. We believe that Bihar can prosper again with correct policies," he added.

Filmmaker Pranav Sahi, who hails from Bihar's erstwhile zamindari family Hathwa Raj, laments that the city is growing without proper urban planning resulting in a "capital mess".

"They made the Ganga Drive right over the ecological sensitive zone the river is, and now a double-decker flyover on Ashok Rajpath. Despite such projects, encroachment remains a nagging reality of Patna, not to mention the garbage strewn all around in the city. If people are littering, penalise them. Can the municipal corporation at least keep the city clean," he asked.

In his late 50s, Sahi expected that the next government brings in some good urban renewal projects to Patna and also does something to exploit the full potential of "our tourist sites".

"Old buildings in Patna can be converted into boutique hotels, or used as a tourist attraction site. They should not be demolished. Tourists won't come to Patna to see new glass-made buildings," he told PTI at his sprawling house 'Ganga Mahal' situated on the banks of the river here.

Patna's old Hathwa Market, now shorn of its glory, was built in late 1950s by Hathwa Raj, and the old Patna General Hospital of the Patna Medical College and Hospital is colloquially called 'Hathwa Ward' owing to the endowment by the the then ruler of Hathwa Raj for the medical institution.

The old Patna General Hospital housing the 'Hathwa Ward' and a British-era lift, and fronted by graceful Doric columns, among other old structures of the historic PMCH is facing demolition as part of an ongoing redevelopment project which has faced protests from many quarters.

Patna High Court lawyer Alamdar Hussain, great-grandson of legendary barrister Sir Sultan Ahmed, said elections happen every five years, but "nothing changes in Bihar".

"Politicians come, make vociferous speeches, lofty promises are made to people, and then once the results come, it all goes on the back-burner only to be taken up in the next election. I have no expectations from anyone," he said.

Sir Sultan was the first Indian vice chancellor of the Patna University from 1923-30, and had also taken part in the second Round Table Conference in 1931 in London along with Mahatma Gandhi and a host of other top leaders.

The fate of 'Sultan Palace', a palatial house built by him in 1922, is hanging in balance as the Bihar government in 2022 had announced that it will be demolished to make way for a five-star hotel, overturning its old decision to turn the palace into a heritage hotel, triggering public outcry.

"I only hope that with a new government in place, care will be given to all heritage structures of Patna and rest of Bihar. And, Sultan Palace, the pride of Patna, will be preserved and restored for future generations," Hussain told PTI.

Nafies Imam, granddaughter of Haidar Imam, another barrister from Patna who is known for building the famous Patna Market along Ashok Rajpath in 1947, is equally cynical about the future of Patna.

"I do not expect anything from the government that will come after this election. In fact, I have no interest in politics. What have the politicians, from any party, done for the city, you can see for yourselves. Traffic is still a mess, no proper urban planning, most of the heritage buildings are either crumbling or worse being demolished in the garb of development," she said.

"After elections, no one will remember the promises, and no one will care," Imam rued.

BJP's incumbent and former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is seeking a second term from the crucial Patna Sahib seat, while INDIA bloc has fielded Congress's Anshul Avijit, grandson of former railway minister Babu Jagjiwan Ram and a son of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

In Patliputra, RJD candidate and Lalu Prasad's daughter Misa Bharati is seeking to wrest the seat from BJP's Ram Kripal Yadav.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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