The file just flew to Delhi and came back with a green light for the Patna Ganga Riverfront Development Project after 35 months. And, it cost Rs 147.18 crore.
Not a single brick was laid between January 2010, when the project’s proposal was sent to the Union ministry of environment and forests for approval, and November 2012, when the state received its clearance, to beautify the riverfront.
In 2010, the estimated project cost was Rs 115.55 crore. Now, it has soared to around Rs 262.73 crore.
Sources said the cost of the project — being implemented by the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), a World Bank-funded scheme — could go up further as the Union finance ministry is yet to put its stamp on it. “The approval from the Union finance ministry is expected within a fortnight, after which we will float the tender,” said S. Siddharth, the state urban development and housing department secretary.
Barring the delay in approval, the sources in the urban development and housing department attributed the project cost escalation to increase in the length of the promenade (walkway). “The original detailed project report (DPR) envisaged integrated development of 6.5km riverfront along 17 ghats with intermittent walkway of 2km only. As the walkway was not connecting all the ghats, the revised DPR chalked out a continuous 6.5km walkway touching 22 ghats, starting from Collectorate Ghat to Nauzhar Ghat. This implies that the length of the walkway has increased by 4.5km, which is the major reason behind the increase in the project cost. Four ghats, being developed by the state tourism department, are not part of this project,” said a department official on condition of anonymity.
According to the sources, 70 per cent of total expenditure would be contributed by the NGRBA and the rest 30 per cent would be borne by the state.
The 6.5km-long and 15ft-wide walkway would be complemented with 500 benches, decorative lights, trees, lavatories and kiosks.