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Somani Bora: Green credo


ANIL CHATURVEDI | New Delhi, December 18, 2011 12:20

In the Ajay Devgun blockbuster ‘Apharan’, people take out a torchlight procession to block transfer of the superintendent of police (SP), deemed pro-people. Somani Bora is that kind of officer. When news came that he was being shifted out of his district, some protestors offered arrest at the chief minister’s residence!

In remote Chattisgarh, Bora tops the list of officers who are ushering in change in a terribly backward landscape and against all odds. This IAS officer, as COO of the Chattisgarh Housing Board, has changed the complexion of thousands of acres of arid uncultivable land into virtual gold mines.

Awarded a dozen times for good governance, Bora has received it two times from the Prime Minister and has become an entrant into the Limca Book of Records.

When 35-year-old Bora qualified to become an IAS officer, he had just one aim in mind: to ameliorate the conditions of the illiterate, poor and unemployed. “To be able to carry the government’s development plans to the people who need it the most was my rationale for joining the civil services. If it helps to improve the negative image of the bureaucracy before the people, so much the better.

Saving and conserving the environment topped Bora’s list of priorities in all the six districts he served as DM. As DM Kabirdham, he launched a green super campaign where a whopping 38 lakh samplings were planted in one single day. It helped consolidate the state government’s bio-diesel conservation programme.

Apart from being honoured by the chief minister, the state’s panchayat and social welfare department named Kabirdham as the best district in the state, a district where Bora demonstrated he could faithfully implement the MNREGA, despite many roadblocks in the way.

As collector Bilaspur, he was singlehandedly responsible for converting 3,000 acres of barren land into green swathes. Under the Community Forest Programme, he organised women action groups and with their assistance, more than 3.5 lakh agricultural crop samplings were sown and the women volunteers awarded cultivation rights.

To meet shortfalls in the Mid Day Meal scheme, Bora initiated a SMS scheme for those district collectors unable to meet their targets.
His other achievements: creation of the Bilasa lake and the Mahtari Express plan where pregnant women are ferried across to hospitals free of cost.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017