Patna, Nov. 30: Three years after release of funds and two futile attempts to run 100 buses under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in the state capital, the urban development department is making new attempts to operate the buses.
In its November 24 edition, The Telegraph reported the slow pace of implementation of various schemes under JNNURM in the state. The central sanctioning and monitoring committee of JNNURM in its 69th meeting on February 20 and 21, 2009, had approved the purchase of buses under the urban transport scheme for both Patna and Bodhgaya. The urban development department invited expression of interest from operators in June 2009 and February 2010, as the scheme has to be implemented in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode. The department offered financial assistance to interested operators from JNNURM funds up to a maximum of 50 per cent towards the cost of procurement of the buses. However, both attempts for expression of interests proved futile, as the department did not receive a single bid.
The central sanctioning and monitoring committee released Rs 19.95 crore for the procurement of JNNURM buses in Patna.
Now, operators are interested to be a part of the urban transport scheme. “The growth of the state capital in terms of population and transportation practices has been tremendous in the past few years. The operation of buses is a profitable business in Patna. But the authorities should also ensure the economic viability of running these buses and stringent conditions should not be imposed on the operators. It would be preferable if the operators get the subsidy amount at the procurement stage,” said Sach-chidanand Rai, managing director of Eden Transport Private Limited.
The buses, to be brought under the urban transport scheme of JNNURM, are aimed at strengthening the transport support system in the state capital. Sources said 70 non-AC semi-low floor and 30 AC low-floor buses are proposed to run in Patna under JNNURM’s urban transport scheme. The buses would be of the latest model and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.
According to sources, the cost of a non-AC semi-low floor bus ranges between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 42 lakh, while the cost of low-floor AC buses range at Rs 35 lakh-Rs 80 lakh.
“The urban transport scheme for Patna could not be executed for long because no bidder responded to the expression of interests invited in the past. We have now decided to bring in the buses at the earliest and augment the transport system as envisaged by the mission. We are likely to involve Patna Municipal Corporation for regulating the operation of these buses,” said Shashi Shekhar Sharma, the urban development department principal secretary.