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Highway launch brings allies together

Ranchi, Nov. 21: Chief minister Arjun Munda today inaugurated the renovated Ranchi-Patratu Road at a function attended by all his alliance partners who put up an united face, effectively putting to rest murmurs of dissent over power-sharing in the state.

Addressing the function on the Birsa Agricultural University campus, Munda announced a slew of plans to improve infrastructure. His appeal to the people to share responsibility was echoed by JMM chief Shibu Soren, while deputy chief ministers Hemant Soren and Sudesh Mahto reiterated their commitment to developing Jharkhand.

Among the plans announced by Munda was the decision to provide Rs 1,600 crore from state coffers to improve drainage and sewerage in the capital, even as he made it clear that residents would have to be ready to part with their land for the effective implementation of the scheme.

Munda said the project should have been taken up under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), but as the Centre appeared reluctant to extend necessary assistance for the work, the state would mobilise the money from different sources.

He added that the proposed Ranchi-Bokaro expressway would be extended to the under-construction Ganga bridge in Sahebganj, thus providing a link to the Far East from the state and making the road a part of an international economic corridor.

The chief minister advised Birsa Agriculture University to identify growth potential along the Ranchi-Patratu road. He asked different departments to work out integrated action plans for overall development of the state, with an eye on tourism and manufacturing sectors, adding that low cost production was the need of the hour.

“Good roads are important mediums of smooth economic growth, and Patratu area is known for rich mineral reserves and industrial units. We now need to explore new avenues. This area has tremendous growth potential in the tourism sector. We need to build concrete platforms for marketing our local products and tell the world about our rich cultural heritage,” he said.

Jharkhand Coordination Committee chairman Shibu Soren stressed on the need to boost agriculture, adding people in nearby Gola were little interested in securing government or private jobs, since they made enough money producing fruits and vegetables. He urged people to shoulder their social responsibilities honestly instead of blaming the government for everything. “In unified Bihar days, we fought for separate statehood. Now your own government is in place. Who will you blame now?” he thundered.

Deputy chief ministers Sudesh Mahto and Hemant Soren repeated their commitment towards helping the state grow. Assembly Speaker C.P. Singh underlined the need to check misuse of public money and judicious selection of contractors involved in construction works, to which chief secretary S.K. Choudhary admitted that certain portions of Ranchi Ring Road had not yet been completed due to shortage of good contractors.

Road construction department’s principal secretary Rajbala Verma in her address said the state was not getting necessary assistance from the Centre for maintenance of national highways. She added that road grids would be set up in every district and a detailed project report was being prepared for ring road in Dumka.


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