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Japan aid for wider highway

The Centre on Thursday cleared the plan for widening 93-km-long stretch of National Highway 82, dishing out a New Year gift to the state.

The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) approved the widening of the highway stretch passing through Gaya, Hisua, Rajgir, Nalanda and Biharsharif. The clearance comes following the agreement on loan assistance by an international agency of the Japan government — Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

Jica, an independent government body, coordinates official development assistance for the government of Japan. According to officials in the ministry of road transport and highways, the total project cost is estimated to be Rs 1,408.85 crore, including Rs 1,216.16 crore for civil construction and supervision works and Rs 192.69 crore as the cost of land acquisition, rehabilitation and pre-construction activities.

The project would be completed within three years of signing of the contract agreement.

Sources said Jica had agreed to provide loan assistance with 100 per cent financing for civil construction and supervision works. The project would be executed by the road ministry and National Highways Authority of India. Significantly, the road passes through Nalanda, where the ancient seat of learning, popularly called Nalanda University, was situated. A world-class university funded by the Centre and some other Southeast Asian countries is coming up.

Apart from Nalanda, the road would connect Rajgir, a prominent Budhhist pilgrim centre where Vishwa Shanti Stupa or Japanese Pagoda is a major tourist attraction.

Officials said the project would also facilitate Gaya to develop as a regional service centre and boost local economy with quality physical and social infrastructure for its citizens and as a leisure destination for tourists.

“With upgrade of the NH-82, smooth and safe traffic flow and substantial economic gain in terms of reduced vehicle operating costs and reduced travel time would be achieved. Improved road connectivity is also expected to bring in overall economic growth of the region it serves,” said a ministry official.

In February, the international development arm of the Japanese government had agreed to provide Rs 1,350 crore assistance for the widening of the Patna-Gaya-Dobhi section on the NH- 83.


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