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.