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This land clocked district of Jharkhand is a true extension of the meaning of Jharkhand- the land of jungles. It has hills, waterfalls, rich forests, temples and shrines. The symbols of Buddhism that exist in Chatra should bring it on the world map since it would form part of the World Buddhist Circuit. The Battle of Chatra is a testimony that the Indian soldiers participated in the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny but were suppressed. The site exists though in dilapidated state.
But when I remember Chatra, I do it for abject poverty and under-development that has refused to go away. Even since Independence, the place has not got its rightful place. It is neither on the tourism map of visitors nor of the investors who would like to put up industries and create jobs. Government employees and their salaries run the local economy. The place does not have a good hospital for Emergency treatment or a Cinema Theatre for entertainment. Anyone who can afford, leaves for better prospects in nearby Hazaribagh or Ranchi.
But God has decided to change fortunes for the much neglected place. Chatra is fast emerging as site for biggest coal mines in the country. This should bring in employment, transport and other economic activities. But one wonders whether this would also become a place for mafias. Falcons from across the State and from other parts of the State have already started coming. Unless tackled well and governed strictly, this is likely to make the city hub of crime and mafia. The District has already suffered due to Naxals who found easy hubs in the jungles.
Why I am bothered? I was born here and spent my childhood here. Stayed connected with the place since my maternal family still stays there and have honourable names. If there is one place I wish to work for, it is Chatra.