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Become district managers, Nitish tells DMs

The Bihar CM says administration is not about being ensconced in cosy chambers but about ensuring implementation of welfare and poverty-alleviation schemes, reports Amitabh Jha.

patna Updated: Apr 29, 2007 21:08 IST
Amitabh Jha

Take a leaf out of the efficiency book of the country’s erstwhile British administrators, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told the district magistrates and divisional commissioners on Sunday. But in the process do not forget to be guided by the democratic principles, he added.

"The erstwhile colonial administrators had an enviable track record in implementation of schemes, which is worth emulation, though their priorities were different. A happy marriage of both could lend a cutting edge to sushashan," Nitish said.

He told the officers that administration was not about being ensconced in cosy chambers but about ensuring the implementation of welfare and poverty-alleviation schemes, about encouraging entrepreneurship in them, about empowering them to earn more and improve their living standards. In short, the district magistrates will have to turn into "district managers".

In resolution of public grievances they could learn from the Janata ke Darbar Mein Mukhyamantri programme. "If at 56 I can stand and listen to the grievances of the people for up to eight hours, you, being younger, can do much more, and, I expect much better," he told the officers.

The districts had faltered on the BPL issue leading to the present trouble. Now there was no time; they must make sure no complaint went unaddressed, he said. "It is clear that district magistrates do not carry out on-the-spot verification themselves but rely on the reports of BDOs and COs leading to the present situation. This will not do," he warned.

Inspection of scheme sites, monitoring of proper implementation of the job guarantee scheme, allocation of Indira Awas Yojana units, transparency in the appointment of anganbari sevikas, early disposal of land disputes were some of the prime responsibilities entrusted to the district magistrates. Besides, they had to prevent district boards and panchayat samitis from fighting over jurisdiction and scheme priorities.

The chief minister said that if these things were done, the state would change beyond recognition within a short time. He commended the administration on fund utilisation and added that the performance level had to be maintained during the current fiscal as well.

He asked the officers to take into account the views expressed by political parties as well as media reports of bungling to ensure transparency. He said that acquisition of agricultural land for purposes other than construction of roads and police stations should be avoided.

Chief Secretary AK Chaudhary asked the district magistrates to prepare their roadmap for scheme execution so that work on a number of projects could run concomitantly without any confusion or loss of efficiency. He also stressed on cross-checking execution of schemes.

Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah told the officers to avoid use of Crime Control Act and make effective use of the provisions under the criminal procedure code. The officers were also told to have working e-mail IDs for quick processing of RTI applications.

They were also told that the sate government had adopted the National Highway norms for state highways. HRD secretary MM Jha told them how to go about the second phase of teacher’s recruitment and how to minimise the complaints at the panchayat level.

Munger Divisional Commissioner HC Sirohi suggested preparation of an action plan for rural development. A number of district magistrates raised issues pertaining to lack of physical infrastructure and computer-trained personnel.