The roads of the state capital have passed a vital test before the low-floor buses, to be run under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), shift to first gear.
Bihar State Road Transport Corporation (BSRTC) conducted trial runs of the buses last week for the first time and found that these can run on all routes covered by the existing ring routes in the city.
Uday Singh Kumawat, the administrator of BSRTC, said: “We had brought two low-floor buses from Delhi and conducted trial runs in the last week. I was personally on board the bus, which ran on all roads covered under the existing ring routes and even went to Hajipur. There was no problem as far as running these buses on the roads is concerned during the trial.”
He added: “The corporation has cleared the formality from its end and now the onus is on the state urban development department to hand over the project envisaged by JNNURM. We would float tenders for procurement of low-floor buses as soon as the urban development department gives us the approval.”
The nodal agency for the implementation of JNNURM in the state is the urban development department.
According to sources, the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee of JNNURM in its 69th meeting on February 20 and 21, 2009, had approved the purchase of 100 (70 non-AC and 30 AC) buses under the urban transport scheme for Patna and another 25 non-AC low-floor buses for Bodhgaya for Rs 135 crore. As the scheme was to be implemented in public-private-partnership mode, the urban development department had invited expression of interest from operators in June 2009 and February 2010. However, both attempts were futile, as the department did not receive a single bid. The urban development department is ready to hand over the procurement and operation of low-floor buses in Bodhgaya to BSRTC but wants to retain the scheme in the capital.
“We are in the process of handing over the scheme under the urban infrastructure and governance sub-mission under JNNURM for Bodhgaya to BSRTC. However, the urban development department would run the low-floor buses under JNNURM on its own in Patna. We will start the process of procurement of these buses soon,” said urban development department principal secretary Shashi Shekhar Sharma .