Nagaland impacted by Nitish Kumar’s rule

Dimapur | May 29 : When Nitish Kumar took over as Chief Minister of Bihar and made noises about cleaning up the system, not many took him seriously.  It was a State where criminals roamed the streets and power was vested in the hands of corrupt leaders. People were longing for basic facilities like healthcare and education. Once considered the most corrupt state in the country, Bihar is finally seeing changes under Nitish Kumar.  
Nitish Kumar’s attempts at rooting out corruption have made a tremendous impact. He restored law and order, and ushered in development. Under him, the state was going through a renewed phase of development and economic opportunities opened up.  Nitish wanted his people to become partners in the progress, and so he made fervent appeals to all Biharis living in other parts of India-and abroad- to come back to Bihar. He made announcements on various local channels and through the radio.
The changes did not go unnoticed; neither did his appeals go unheard. Lakhs of Biharis began to move back home. And among them were Biharis from Nagaland. Unconfirmed reports suggest that atleast 60% of Bihari labourers have left Nagaland in the last few years.
The Biharis in Nagaland mainly constitute the labour class. Thousands of Biharis are permanently settled in Nagaland while a few hundred thousand more work here. The Bihari community, though in minority, is virtually the backbone of the state’s economy. Without them, Nagaland would not have come up to this stage. Most of state’s physical infrastructure standing today is due to the services rendered by them as daily wage labourers. However, with the recent departure of thousands of Biharis from the state, the economy is feeling its impact.  
Sharma Agarwal, a saw mill manager in Signal Basti confirmed that many Bihari labourers have left Dimapur. Sharma said he doesn’t know if it is the “Nitish Kumar factor,” but some of those who left have told him that “daily wage is higher in Bihar.” Some others have left because they couldn’t withstand the “taxes” and “daily harassment” meted out to them. Sharma added that many saw mills have closed down due to unavailability of labourers.  
Similarly, many brick kilns in Dimapur are facing labour shortage. Earlier it was the Biharis who comprised the larger section of labourers in the brick kilns. Their departure has left the brick kiln owners at a loss. It is now reported that most of the workers are Bangladeshi immigrants from Assam.
However, due to their mobile nature, brick kiln owners hesitate to employ them. The impact is mostly seen in the construction sector where labourers are reported to be in shortage. A lull is also being felt in the supply sector where demands of consumer goods have fallen sharply.
Till a few years ago, Biharis came looking for employment in Nagaland; today opportunity is calling them back home.   A vegetable vendor in New Market said: “Yes, many Biharis have left. Nitish Kumar’s government has created job opportunities for us.” From Muzaffarpur in Bihar, the vendor said that some of his friends have opened their own shops. He said that till a few years back people wouldn’t think of it due to rampant extortion and kidnapping for money.
In the five years of Nitish rule, two major developments reportedly stand out—law and order, and roads. Education and healthcare come next.  The state GDP growth has reportedly averaged over 10 per cent, and over 2000 km of roads have been added to Bihar.
Closely observing the impact on the local economy, market analyst Kathi Chishi said: “This is definitely having an adverse impact on our economy. The pace of development is so fast in Bihar and accordingly the standard of productivity is very high. Labourers are getting better wage so the labour class is slowly moving out of Nagaland.”  Another aspect of this, thought, is thought to be positive- the opportunity for Naga people to take over as the labour class. On the other hand, the progress of other States as a result of good governance can definitely be an eye-opener for politicians in Nagaland.