BIHAR HAS MORE PHONES THAN TOILETS

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KOLKATA, India, July 16 (Xinhua) — More than half of the population of the eastern Indian state of Bihar live below the poverty line and have no toilets but around 56 percent of families have either a mobile or landline telephone.

It is a paradox that while the state has made great leaps in infrastructure development such as building roads and bridges, it has lagged behind in providing basic necessities for its population since 77 percent of the residents in the state lack toilets, according to the latest census report.

The report released by the Census of India said that until 2001, only 2.2 percent families were using any kind of telecom facility in Bihar whereas now over half of its population own phones and around 9.8 million mobile phones are in use in the state.

Bhaskar Mishra, Deputy Registrar General of India said, “Bihar is full of paradoxes. Millions are living in the lantern age and have no access to toilets, but millions are using banking services and chatting over phones.””It is amazing to note that nearly 56 percent of the total 18. 9 million families in Bihar have mobile or landline telephone connections but a majority of them lack toilets,” he said.

The census report says that like the rest of India, Bihar is developing at a fast rate but millions are without electricity, safe drinking water and basic sanitary amenities.

According to the report, Bihar had recorded a remarkable average growth rate of 11.3 percent over the last six fiscal years and has improved its educational and health facilities.

In primary health care, the state has increased immunization and reduced infant mortality rate in the last few years, for which it was infamous. These are some indicators of change and development in the state.

Central government records showed that last year Bihar was the worst performer in the national sanitation program campaign. It said one out of every six people without access to sanitation in India lived in Bihar.

Bihar’s Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Minister Chandra Mohan Rai said that the department planned to provide toilet facilities to more than 10 million families, but now just over three million households had been covered.

Only 16.4 percent of Bihar’s 18.9 million families have the luxury to have electricity, the remaining 83.6 percent families don’t have, the census report stated.Majority of the people, 82.4 percent of Bihar’s 105 million population of Bihar still use kerosene for their lighting needs
The report said electricity as the source of lighting had increased only by six percent since the 2001 census.The state has a daily requirement of 2,300 to 2,500 MW of power but it generates hardly 80 to 100 MW. The supply from the central grid is only around 750 to 900 MW. The state faces a daily power deficit of about 1,000 to 1,200 MW.

(National News Agency – RSS – Nepal @ 2012)