|Panda (right) presenting a copy of the book to Vice-President Ansari|
experienced in the state which is surrounded by Bangladesh on its north, west and south. Many in rest of India are possibly unaware of the fact that Tripura has achieved a literacy rate of over 95%. And in 2013 assembly elections, it set a record when as high as 93% of voters voted, with women outnumbering the men. By the way, there was not even one untoward incident during the poll. These and many other interesting facets of the state have figured in Panda-edited book. Panda, a 1980 batch Manipur-Tripura cadre IAS was the state’s chief secretary before joining the Centre as textiles secretary.
The book is, however, a concerted effort by a number of bureaucrats, bankers and academics where Panda played the role of anchor and editor. The contributors include four district magistrates of Tripura – Abhishek Singh, Kirankumar Dinkarrao Gitte, ML Dey and Tanushree Debbarma, and then tribal welfare secretary and IAS L Darlong, IPS officer Arindam Nath, SBI's regional manager Pramod Pal and Indian forest service officer Alind Rastogi, to name a few. Panda was the driving force in producing the book, the concept of which was prepared back in October 2012.
The book deals with issues such as quality education in tribal areas, voluntary blood donation, promotion of medicinal plantation and Ayurveda healthcare including Panchakarma, women empowerment through mulbery sericulture and bamboo stick-making etc.
Panda says, each chapter of the book is a flower and the book itself a "Fullar Mala" or a garland of flowers. There has been an uniformity in each chapter, as each one has a brief background, international scenario, Indian scenario, Tripura scenario, action taken and its impact, the way ahead, and conclusion.
The book’s Bengali version was launched in Tripura early this year, but it courted a controversy when 839 schools in the state were ordered to buy two books, one Panda’s and the other being ‘Atit Diner Smriti’ (Reminiscence of past) written by chief minister Manik Sarkar, without taking prior government permission. The order of bulk buying was cancelled, and one Ambalika Datta, the deputy director of school education in Tripura government got suspended for his over-enthusiasm.