Third Anniversary of go4patna.com - A Review

 

It is getting to be harder to run a constitution than to frame one - Woodrow Wilson (1887)

On the eve of the third anniversary of go4patna.com, the above phrase of Wilson holds quite true for it. The website over the years has grown into a huge collection of articles which require attention from diverse dimensions. The rapid development requires constant update of the information provided in the website. As the range of the information provided in the website keeps on widening, so does the amount of effort to maintain the same with the advancing time. However, we at go4patna.com has been eager to keep the website regularly updates despite numerous challenge, and the passing year has not been an exception to it.

The website continue to expand its reaches during the last year. It is heartening to inform that more than 75000 people visited the website during the period , totaling  page view of about 1.5 lakh. The same figure stood at 15 k during the first year and 64 k during the second year. Thus, overall more than 1.5 lakh people has visited the website since its beginning, which is quite good considering the topics which are covered in the website. The visitor access to the website continue on increasing with visitors from 113 countries visiting it, up from 93+ countries during last year. The top visitors are from India, followed by US, Spain, Indonesia and UK in that order. The visitors from different cities also witnessed some changes with Kolkata replacing Patna at the top, followed by Mumbai and New Delhi. Funtasia Island water park continue to receive highest hit among article this year also. It is closely being followed by PMC Wards and Eco Park.

Last year witnessed some minor changes in Home Page. Three modules beginning with "Top 10" were added replacing earlier module. A new section of "Development @ Patna" as added to capture the various development activities having a repercussion on the tourism aspect of Patna. The inauguration of the work of Bihar Museum, International Convention Centre, JP Ganga Path etc. has been included in this section. This year also witnessed restructuring of articles urls in order to avoid broken link/missing link problem. A page not found section was added to redirect the user to appropriate page in case of any mis-direction by the servers. Several steps were undertaken to reduce the page load time, as a result of which the pages are now being loaded more efficiently than last year. The articles were optimized and many photos were optimized or removed to pave for the efficiency. The blog patnaphotogallery.blogspot.com also witnessed good growth during the year. It received nearly 35000 visitors to its pages. Some new articles like on Kamaldah Jain Temple Complex and Agam Kuan were added. The Facebook Page has now more than a thousand followers and it continue to provide information about latest development and happenings in the city.

We have completed third year of our existence and it is a proof of our commitment. Several new websites appeared during the period based on plagiarism, which we talked about last year, however most of them are now defunct and non-existence. The reason is attributed to the lack of sustained interest on the limited topics revolving around Patna. A new website can be created in a short span of time using copy-paste and plagiarism, however it is much difficult to sustain it over a longer period. When we had started our website in 2011, there was not much information on internet and Wikipedia. Now, one can find a lot of information over internet and Wikipedia especially. Several of our articles has given way to Wikipedia pages, which they have also acknowledged in their references. In fact, the various article arrangement about Patna on Wikipedia bears remarkable resemblance with our website articles arrangement.  The purpose of the above reference is not to boast of our contribution, rather to emphasize the fact that a small beginning in 2011 has given so much information about Patna on the internet. This is the power of ICT (Information & Communication Technology).

On March 11, 2014, Prabhat Khabar (Patna Edition) carried out an article about the website and the blog on the front page of its Life @ Patna supplementary. We felt quite encouraged with such acknowledgement of our effort by a leading newspaper of Patna. The website also finds its mention on various other websites. We hope to achieve more accomplishment in the coming year.  It will be our endeavor in the next year to provide more information on Patna like as has been in the past. Again it would be worth mentioning that without the support of the visitors, it would have been difficult to move forward. We thank to all visitor for visiting our website. We would appreciate your feedback/comment/suggestion/criticism/query at JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING .

Thanks

 

Looking Back

Patna stampede - why lessons learnt are forgotten?

 

The Gandhi Maidan stampede on the eve of Dussehra which has claimed 33 lives till now comes barely two years after the stampede that occurred at the Adalat Ghat during Chhath Puja celebration. The routine followed after the Chhath Puja stampede were usual in the Indian scenario - first the stampede happens, then even before the name of the deceased are made public, compensations (ex-gratia) pours in along with announcement of an "inquiry" into the incident, some officials are made scapegoat and transferred, few months later newspaper reports the submission of investigation to the government and finally no one hears anything about any action taken thereafter. Only reminiscence remains the vigilance on the anniversary eve, which too diminishes in the subsequent years - thus the venue again waiting for next stampede to happen. The Gandhi Maidan stampede clearly shows how the lessons learnt during the last stampede were forgotten or ill-implemented.

It seems unlikely that the authorities had any plan of mass management when one third of the city's population was gathered at a single venue (As per 2011 census, the city's population was just above 16 lakh and around 5 lakh people were present at the Gandhi Maidan on that fateful day). Ofcourse when an incident of such magnitude happens, press scrutiny brings much more information that in normal case would not have been come to the surface - like only twenty percent of the lights (eg. high-mast, street light etc) were functional, majority of the government official including police were busy in regulating VIP movement after the ceremony, Frazer road was blocked for well over 15 minutes for VIP movement when thousands of people were leaving the venue simultaneously etc. All these things points to only one thing - there was nothing called people management at the venue. If the official claims that there was indeed, then they forget to add that it was reserved for VIPs.

A big question being circulated is whether the administration expected such a large crowd? The official answer may be ambiguous but there is no denying fact the Ravan Vadh ceremony is attended by large number of people, and this is not a fact which has suddenly become apparent this year. It is known to every person in the city and everyone coming for the ceremony expects a huge turnout, unless the weather is bad. It might be that the administration had put the scarce resources at the privilege of the VIPs, leaving people to cater for themselves, as has been the normal scenario. Then, was the administration anticipating for such stampede to happen, lest not put the resource crunch before the government at the outset? This can not be rejected out rightly as the proper arrangement for mass management was completely overlooked. Another important question arises whether there was adequate security arrangement for the public in general. It has not been long since more than a  dozen low explosive bombs had rocked the PM Narendra Modi's election rally at the Gandhi Maidan. ( read : Blast is BJP's 'Hunkar Rally'). In the present time, when the terrorists aims to causes maximum public casualty, the question of security arrangement requires proper attention. Was there any manual frisking or metal detectors or sniffer dogs at the venue? The administration might give the excuse of presence of a large number of people. But again, aren't terrorist organizations looking for such vulnerabilities? Instead of the stampede that happened due to a false rumour at the Gandhi Maidan, an explosion or more at the venue during the climax of the ceremony would had triggered panic causing casualty at an un-imaginable level. The Hunkar Rally was attended by much less number of people that Ravan Vadh ceremony - the result would have been devastating.

The stampede clearly shows the lack of any robust plan in mass management despite the lessons learnt during the Chhath stampede and Hunkar Rally blast. The recommendations are buried and actions forgotten - to be remembered only when the next such thing happens. The blame game continues but no one takes responsibility for such incidents or lapse of arrangements. The attitude of "chalta hai" or "such incidents will keep happening" reflects the deep instincts of the society at large, where the blame is squarely put on public themselves. Isn't it right to discontinue such ceremonies attended by thousands of people where the administration is incapable of providing proper arrangement due to resource or fund crunch? Ofcourse religious sentiments gets hurt, but lives are more important than the rituals.

 

[Nov 2014]

Patna 2013 - A year in retrospect


The year 2013 brought many new dimensions to Patna from a number of perspective. Not only did the starting of several projects in the city gave a new hope about the better future, but also brought the threat of terrorism at the doorstep of the generally peaceful city in the passing year. The city which witnessed the repeated failure of the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) at the orders of the Patna High Court on garbage issues, also witnessed bitter spat among the functionaries of the corporation towards the end of the year. Whereas the launching of new projects installed a hope of faith among the citizen, the repeated massive traffic jams worried the citizen a lot as well. The city looked bitterly outdated when referenced to the urban planing and seemed crumbling under the ever increasing weight of the population, vehicles and protests. We take a look at the year gone by to predict the next year situation.

The year 2013 was a special one - it marked the 100 year of creation of the state. Therefore a number of events kept happening especially in the first quarter of the year in Patna. The grand event - Bihar Day Celebration (March 22-24) - was held at the historic Gandhi Maidan where the top executives of the state participated the occasion. The 3-day celebration brought artists from all over the country. The event was followed by the 19th Book Fair by CRD which attracted a lot of crowd. The city witnessed three book fairs - all in Gandhi Maidan- during the year, which is something interesting. A number of fairs like Saras Fair kept on happening throughout the year. Perhaps the most eye-catching event during the year has been the starting of the work on the Ganga Path project. The ambitious project along the bank of the river Ganga hopes to greatly ease the traffic load on the Ashok Rajpath and give a boost to the city's infrastructure. It is expected that once completed, it will greatly promote the industries along the bank, especially in Patna city area, including tourism industry. Another highlight on infrastructure sector has been the proposed Patna Metro Rail. The state government has sought DPR (Detailed Project Report) from RITES. The Rs. 8,000 crore project, if approved, will be a landmark event in the infrastructure sector of the city. The city also witnessed a starting of work on a number of world class buildings. The foremost among them is the proposed museum which will be of international standard and whose design has been selected after a global competition. The work has already been started at a site near Patna High Court. An international convention centre will come up near Ashok Rajpath at Gandhi Maidan. The work has already started, however the project ran into controversy after the girls of Magadh Mahila College took onto protest at the project design to block the road to the main entrance of the college towards the end of the year.

The security of Patna was stepped up after serial bomb blasts rocked the Mahabodhi Temple complex in Bodh Gaya in July 2013. However, the security proved to be of little use when a couple of months later, more than a dozen bombs rocked Gandhi Maidan and Patna Junction. The occasion chooses was the political rally of BJP where its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was to address the supporter at the Gandhi Maidan. The blasts sent ripple across the machinery of the state government. The steps were taken however the damage was already done. The police is taking enhanced steps to counter such terror activities. One such step made it mandatory for the landlords to furnish details of their tenants at the nearest police station. The continued violence in the college campuses of Patna University was also a cause of worry throughout the year.

The Municipal Corporation continued to fail at multiple front. The stinging garbage not only distracted citizens alone, but drew attentions of the judges of Patna High Court who took cognizance of it and PMC was always at loss to explain its failure. The construction of high rise apartments along the narrow roads in the city also drew remarks from the court, however still no guidelines has been framed in this matter by the authorities. The bitter squabbling among the functionaries of the corporation also hampered its reputation. The city continues to choke under massive traffic jams. The recurring political rallies and protests added more problem to the citizen's woe. There is still no visible solution to this ever growing problem. Though the government has planned to launch spacious city buses but the plan failed to take off in the year. It is expected that it will be operational from the first quarter of the coming year.

There is no denying fact that city continue to face a lot of problems at many fronts. Nevertheless initiatives has been taken at many fronts. The year 2014 can be no different from 2013 given the present scenarios. We can only hope that some major initiatives are taken in the coming year whose result could be visible in the future years. Unless some bold approaches are undertaken and some sort of urban planning on scientific lines are finalized, there is little hope for the city from the existing approaches.

Need for dedicated Cycling tracks in Patna

 

Cycles are the most preferred way of traveling to shorter distances in the urban areas. Cycling not only promote a healthy life style coupled with environmental benefits but also helps in the promotion of non-motorized vehicles. The nations around the world especially the developed countries have shown great interest in promoting the cycling culture because of the multiple benefits it offers compared to any other mode of transportation within the confines of urban centers. But in India, the issue has so far been neglected except a few isolated cases as in New Delhi. The issue is far more neglected in non-metro cities like Patna.

Patna is a city where one can find cyclist in large number. The cyclist varies from students to daily workers to many other professions. However, what is missing is dedicated cycling tracks and cycling culture. By cycling culture, it is meant the way the people perceives cycling as a mode of transportation ignoring the social hierarchies and the support that the government is supposed to provide. So far, both the factors are missing. Cycling in Patna is still viewed as a mode of transport for the poor people who could not afford motorized vehicles like bike, cars etc. The cyclists are ignored on the roads and looked upon with contempt as they manoeuver across the road during traffic jams. This may be partly true because of the complete absence of any dedicated cycling paths in the city. The ever increasing numbers of vehicles on the fixed and encroached roads in Patna has further pushed the cyclists on the edge of the roads.

The cyclists in Patna travel knowing fully the risk involved on the roads. The absence of any cycling track puts the cyclists in a vulnerable position on the road which is already occupied with big vehicles. Accidents are not uncommon and sometimes results into fatality also. The country already has the dubious distinction of high rate of mortality on the roads. Minor bruises are quite common - both on the cycles and on cyclist's body. The issue becomes quite glaring when one witnesses hundreds of students on the bicycles heading towards their schools, colleges and tuition centers in haste and fast moving vehicle bypassing then very closely. Sometimes, such narrow movement traumatizes students who afterwards prefers to use the shared autos. This further contribute to the ever increasing number of shared autos on the roads. The parent also do not want their children to venture out on the dangerous roads on bicycles. The congested roads of Ashok Rajpath, Nala road, Boring road etc. gives a vivid picture of the helplessness of the cyclists. Certainly, things were not so bad in the earlier days. The dedicated cycle stands in various colleges, which lie neglected today, bears the testimony of their hey-days. The cycle stand at Patna Science College, Patna College etc. are very old, when cycles used to be the preferred medium of students. The absence of efficient public transportation in the city has further compounded the problem. The cycle users are forced to pay higher prices in autos or use bicycles jeopardizing their lives.

The need of the hour is to create dedicated cycle tracks across the length and breadth of the city. The cycling culture should be promoted as a cheap, efficient and eco-friendly way of transport for shorter distances. The lanes once created should be well looked after so as not to discourage the cyclists. Violations like encroachment on the tracks should be promptly dealt with. Innovative approaches like fencing the cycling tracks with low height fences, creating low height cycling path overbridges when space is compact, making it pot-hole free area, proper arrangements at the traffic signals for crossing the roads, encouraging private players to rent bicycles for a nominal user fee, proper cycle parking facilities at major places, making aware citizens of their rights and importance of dedicated cycling tracks, encouraging students to use and protect the tracks etc. could be employed to give a sense of encouragement to the bicycle users in the city. These steps could go a long way in making the city as a cyclist hub in the country. The municipal corporation could levy a small user charge for using the cycling tracks so as to properly maintain them. The cost of constructing dedicated these tracks across the city will be minuscule when compared to other ambitious projects like the proposed Patna Metro Rail project. The benefits of dedicated cycling tracks would be many ranging from energy saving to the eco-friendly.

There is also need to learn from the experience of other countries where cycling culture has been implemented with much success. The name of the Netherlands stands apart in popularizing and promoting the cycling culture among its citizen. This small country has more than 35,000 km of cycling tracks and it boasts of more than 18 million (1.8 crore) bicycles in the country which is more than its total population. Cycling accounts for 27 percent of all trips (urban and rural) nationwide in the Netherlands and upto 59 percent of all trips in its cities. The Dutch government has accorded high priority to pedestrian and cyclist in road designs in the urban areas. In India, Delhi has close to 100 km of cycling tracks. The Delhi government has placed 'green' local cycle stands at various points near the metro stations where one can rent a bike at just Rs. 10 for four hours. As a consequence, more and more people are cycling.

Similar kind of approach is required in Patna also. It is said that it is never too late to start a good thing. The administration needs to take note of this crucial aspect in urban planning and the with citizen participation should start this noble initiatives to begin a new era of green transport in the city.

[Jan 2014]

2nd Anniversary of go4patna.com - A review

 

"If you cannot do great thing, do small things in great way" - Napoleon Hill, American author.

The above quotation has truly behoved our approach since we started our journey two years back with the objective of providing information on the various aspect of Patna, especially tourism aspect. It has been a long journey over comparatively short span of time. Two year ago, when we had launched the website on December 4, 2011, it barely had scores of articles, coupled with few technical glitches and indeed very few visitors. However, walking on the narrow path marred with the new challenges and threats, we have came across a long way, boasting of hundreds of articles and good number of visitors from all corners of the world. We are ready to go ahead further with the same enthusiasm and take new challenges in the coming year.

The time since the first anniversary (A Year of Celebration @ go4patna.com), there has been major shift in some of the trends concerning the website. The most delightful feature during last year has been the gradual increase in the northward curve of the number of visitors coming to the website - its more than 400% increase in absolute term !!! Not only we witnessed the gradual rise in the number of visitors, but also the increasing geographical reach of the website across all the continents of the world. While the last years review reflected the number of visitors around 15,000 across 61+ nations, this year the data goes upward at more than 65,000 visitors from 94+ countries. The monthly average of 5500 visitors is inspiring for a website which does not deal with the latest news contents. In fact on a single day in May, the counter clocked 4000+ visits !!! It is also true that we did not get the expected number of visitors in a couple of months. There are more than 330 articles as of now, related to the various aspect of the city and the adjoining tourist places. There are more than 100 pages which have received more than a thousand visit. The page on 'Funtasia Island Water Park' continue to receive the highest number of visitors. The visitors from India, as expected continue to lead with great margin as compared to any other country. The next countries are more or less within the same range. In last years assessment, we had mentioned about the absence of visitors from big countries like China, Brazil, Spain etc., however this year's list boasts of visitors from all these countries and many other countries also. Last year, the City of Joy, Kolkata had registered the highest number of visitors, which had surprised us. However, this year, Kolkata has registered at the third place, while Patna, long expected occupying the top slot followed by New Delhi.

There are number of inferences that can be drawn from the above stats. The most obvious is the number of people visiting the website from various parts of the world. This could reflect two things - either foreign tourists are visiting the website to get the required information they wish to get or a native of the city who has gone foreign and wishes to get the update about the city. Both aspects are strong as Bihar registers a high number of foreign tourists visiting the famous tourist sites of Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Rajgir, Vaishali etc. and fests like Sonepur fair and various Mahotsavas, and a number of natives go to foreign for working.  We hope that they got the required information. We could also see growth on our social media page on Facebook.

This year, we launched a new blog on Patna. The reason for starting the blog was the limitation on the number of photos that we could post on the website page. Though, it was not a mandatory limitation, yet putting so many photos on the website page could have severely jeopardize the performance of the page.  We therefore thought it otherwise better to put the photographs on a separate blog where one can see the photos with ease. One could visit the blog, www.patnaphotogallery.blogspot.com to view the photos of various tourist places in Patna. It has been getting small but gradually increasing number of visitors. A number of sections were added to the website like Top Weekly News where one could get the top stories about Patna from various newspapers at one place.

This year, we also witnessed a threat in a new form - Plagiarism. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as 'the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own'. An increasing number of websites which provide some information about Patna has been found of copying contents from our website. While some has copy-pasted the entire content, some have manipulated it a bit to show it as their own. There are also few other who have mentioned the source name while taking the content and we appreciate their effort. The theft of the contents without mentioning the source name is on rise. These unethical debauch practices, which are violation of the copyright act needs to be condemned and handled properly. We truly support of free flow of internet content for the public use, however unethical approaches needs to be differentiated.

Overall, we can say that the year has been mixed one - some excitement, some challenges and some threats. We continue to provide the relevant information on various aspect of Patna and the tourism aspect of the adjoining areas. We take this opportunity to thank all the visitors who visit the website, and all the fans on social networking sites who give us confidence to move ahead. We are hopeful of a fruitful third year of its long journey. We wish to grow the same way with your support. Please send your feedback/suggestions/complains at JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING . We will definitely consider your mail.

Thanks.

[Dec 4, 2013]