Patna, Nov 3 (IANS) While politicians in Bihar are busy making electoral promises of development, the state capital added around 2,000 shiny, new cars on its roads on Dhanteras Wednesday.
The festival, that precedes Diwali and is considered an auspicious day for making purchases, is being celebrated on a grand scale in the capital of the drought-hit state, one of the poorest in the country.
‘In Patna alone, nearly 2,000 cars were booked for delivery on Dhanteras. It reflects the high demand of cars, but dealers may not be able to deliver all because of a shortage in supply,’ said an official of Vau’s Automobiles, Maruti’s authorised dealer in Patna.
According to dealer estimates, the total cost of the 1,982 cars booked is around Rs.90 crore.
Dealers said more than 1,300 brand new cars will hit the roads by Wednesday night, while the delivery of the rest will take a few more weeks.
‘Demand for cars is so high that dealers cannot make deliveries to all,’ said Ujjawal Kumar, of Krrish Hyundai showroom. Ujjawal Kumar said his showroom, like many others, has stopped taking orders for delivery of new cars on Dhanteras day.
Dhananjay Kumar, a Patna-based contractor, is all smiles as he awaits his new car.
‘I had booked for the car early last month,’ Kumar told IANS here.
The car makers, of course, are not complaining. While the run-up to the assembly elections saw around 300 sports utility vehicles (SUV) being booked by politicians, this Dhanteras has brought another windfall for them.
Maruti has the highest number of bookings for new cars on Dhanteras, followed by General Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hyundai, Tata Motors and Fiat.
‘Nearly 850 Maruti cars have been booked for Dhanteras delivery,’ a dealer said.
Last year, 1,447 cars were sold in Patna on Dhanteras, worth Rs.60.7 crore.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, seeking to be re-elected on the back of his developmental policies, has repeatedly claimed that Bihar is changing, and has a high growth rate for the first time in the post-independence era.
Nitish never fails to remind people that road connectivity is one of his government’s main achievements, next only to the restoration of law and order.
According to the Bihar economic survey for 2009-10, the state’s economy registered an annual growth rate of 11.35 percent over the five-year period from 2004-05 to 2008-09.
The corresponding figure in the previous five years was only 3.5 percent.
The survey also shows a rise in per capita income from Rs.10,415 per year in 2008 to Rs.13,959 in 2009. It was Rs.7,443 in 2004-05.
Three months back, the Bihar government declared all 38 districts drought-hit, and asked for central assistance. The state recorded a rainfall deficit of nearly 25 percent this monsoon, which virtually destroyed the main paddy crop.
Nearly 50 percent of Bihar’s 83 million people live below the poverty line, the highest in India, according to a World Bank report on the state.