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Policy awaits smoother rides

(From left) Nand Kishore Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Sushil Kumar Modi at the foundation-laying ceremony of the road and bridge project at Samwad in Patna on Wednesday. Picture by Deepak Kumar

The government would soon prepare a road maintenance policy to keep the highways in good shape.

The NDA government has already constructed more than 1,5000km roads in the past seven years.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday laid the foundation stone of a road and bridge project worth Rs 2,424 crore, while announcing the policy.

“We need to maintain the roads, which have been constructed in the past as we hardly require new roads now. However, to maintain these, we need to have a policy. In this financial year itself, the final shape to the road maintenance policy would be given,” Nitish said.

One of the main components of the proposed policy would simplify the road repairing process. The work would be outsourced to a private contractor for a particular time period through competitive bidding and the agency selected would have to keep the road in good shape round the year. The system would replace the existing one in which estimates of damaged roads are made and then tenders floated to carry out repairing work.

“The existing system takes time and sometimes the extent of damage increases than what it was during preparing the estimate. It leads to delay in repair forcing people to travel over damaged roads till it these are fixed,” said a source, who is part of the team entrusted with giving final touches to the policy document.

The source added that the new system would put the onus of quick repairing on the contractor, as his selection would be made on a term basis for upkeep of the road. So far as funds for the maintenance work is concerned, there are issues, which need to be ironed out before finalising the policy document.

Of Rs 2,424 crore, Rs 1,212 crore has been allotted to the road construction department using which 95 roads (827.05km) and 79 bridges would be constructed. The remaining (Rs 1,212 crore) amount has been allotted to the rural works department to build 565 roads (1,162.657km) and 119 bridges.

Nitish added: “Every year, there would be provisions in the budget for the road maintenance policy. I had a dream to provide the best roads in the state on which one can travel from any district headquarters to the state capital within six hours. The goal has been achieved, except for Kishanganj district.”

Rural works minister Bhim Singh said: “The policy would be fruitful and will help the government to maintain roads.”

Road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav said: “We have achieved the six-hour dream. Now the department is working to minimise the hours. Six-lane roads are being constructed instead of four. Even the proposed bridge over the Ganga would be a six-lane stretch.”


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