Archive for January, 2010

Centre Gives Thumbs Up To Bihar Roads

Once mocked for bad roads, the state is winning praises now. Bihar will make a presentation on the implementation of a road project at the Tripartite Project Review Meeting (TPRM) in Mumbai on February 19.The meeting is to review the performance of Bihar Road Construction Corporation, aided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). “Bihar will show the way,” said BRCC managing director Pratyay Amrit. The corporation, a newly established state government undertaking, is executing ADB’s road projects in the state.

BRCC got a letter from the department of economic affairs, ministry of finance, dated December 23, applauding the progress made regarding the construction of roads under ADB projects. The letter, signed by under-secretary Mohandasan P, noted that the state undertaking was the best performing one in the state for its innovations and new techniques. The letter asked BRCC to make a presentation at the TPRM, which will be attended by ADB officials as well as representatives of the Centre and various state governments.

Bihar has taken a 420 million dollar loan (Rs 1,971 crore) for construction of the 820-km road, known as the Bihar State Highway Roads Phase I Project. The loan came into effect on December 2008 and the project has to be completed by December 2011.

“Already, 20% of the work is complete and we are sure of completing the rest within the stipulated time frame,” said Amrit. Encouraged by its own progress, the state has sought another 500 million dollars from ADB for Phase II.

Once assailed for having roads as rough as Amrish Puri’s cheeks, the state has seen a marked improvement of late.

According to road construction department sources, around 50% of over 13,000 km of district roads, state highways and national highways have been upgraded. The district roads are around 8,000 km long, followed by 2,035 km state highways and about 3,000 km national highways. A major part of the work is likely to be completed this year.

As a result of improved roads, the transport business will see a boom. As of now, people venture out in buses, private cars/SUVs, taxis and two-wheelers. Incidentally, the number of such vehicles has increased in the state over the last few decades, especially after Bihar State Road Transport Corporation failed to run its buses to profit. As of March 31 last year, the state has 19,654 private buses, 1,03,077 cars/SUVs, 30,857 taxis and 13,64,757 two-wheelers plying the roads.


Bihar To Appoint IT Managers In All Districts

They will help district officials to handle IT related works and also for optimal utilisation of IT-based servicesBihar has decided to appoint an Information Technology (IT) manager in each of the 38 districts to improve e-Governance for smooth and transparent functioning of the administration.
Official sources in the Chief Minister Office said that decision to appoint IT managers in all the districts was taken by the Bihar Prashasnik Sudhar Mission (BPSM).

Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department Principal Secretary Dipak Kumar said that government will invite applications for the post of IT managers soon.”The government plans to post an IT manager in districts within two to three months” he said.

Kumar said that IT managers will help district officials to handle IT related works as well as help them for optimal utilisation of IT-based services.

The government had already introduced use of computers in district offices for official work. The district officials were expected to send regular reports to the state headquarters online.

The government also plans to launch portal-based information sharing system .Bihar had formally adopted e-Governance as a state policy in 2006 on the advice of former president APJ Abdul Kalam.

All 37 district headquarters and 470 block headquarters in Bihar can be accessed online through the Bihar State Wide Area Network.

Bihar Registers 11.03% Growth in GDP

A day after PatnaDaily.Com chose Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as the Person of the Year for 2009, the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), in a report released on Saturday, placed Bihar in the second place in terms of growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between the years 2004 and 2009. Recording a spectacular growth rate of 11.03%, much above the standard measure of 7% to be considered exceptional growth, Bihar barely got beat by Gujarat that recorded a growth rate of 11.05% during the same period.

The report has taken the opposition leaders in Bihar and other naysayers by surprise.

“While the numbers do look good, the reality belies such growth. Millions of people are still living below the poverty line and people are still dying of hunger and cold. The government has failed to implement a number of federal schemes,” said a senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader.

NDA leaders, on the other hand, attributed good governance in the last four years for Bihar’s dramatic rise.

“It is ironical that despite some great news for Bihar, the opposition leaders are praying for the failure of this government,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.

Taking a dig on the RJD and Lok Janshakti Party’s plan to launch a statewide agitation on January 28 to protest against high prices of essential commodities in Bihar, state BJP spokesperson Vinod Narayan Jha said that Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan were shedding crocodile’s tears over the rising prices.

“If Yadav and Paswan are so concerned about the high prices, they should first withdraw their support to the UPA government which is truly responsible for higher prices throughout the country,” said Jha.