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CM steers six-lane dream

Jharkhand hit its maiden six-lane expressway on Tuesday as chief minister Hemant Soren formally inaugurated four phases of the much-delayed Ranchi Ring Road at a traditional ceremony in Rampur, 20km from the capital.

Built in 30 months and at a cost of Rs 477 crore, the 36.192km arterial stretch connects Rampur on NH-33 to Kathitand on NH-75, and had been informally in use for sometime now. Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Company Limited, a joint venture between the state and IL&FS, had skipped the original deadline of June 2012 to finally finish phases III to VI two months ago.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister chose to salute success than flay failure.

“We all know about the state’s bad roads because we suffer daily. I am scared of flying, but I have little choice. But today, we all have a reason to rejoice. This is Jharkhand’s first six-lane freeway. It is a testimony to our commitment to better roads,” Hemant said.

He urged Ring Road users to share the responsibility of maintaining it. “Building roads and people-friendly infrastructure is the government’s job. But, it can’t do much alone. It needs public support in every sphere of development.”

Road construction secretary Rajbala Verma said besides buffering traffic jams, the expressway would immensely boost socio-economic development of Ranchi.

She stressed that the six-lane success had pumped fresh energy too. “We are working harder to better Jharkhand’s roads. In this financial year, we got a budget allocation of Rs 1,985 crore and are spending every single paise. We have built 750km of roads and 30 bridges across the state,” she said.

Besides Hemant and Rajbala, the guest list included Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay, urban development minister Suresh Paswan and zilla parishad chairman Sundari Tirkey among others.