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Driveway dream crash-lands

Acquisition of around 162 acres has hit the dream driveway along the Ganga within eight months of the project’s start.

The ambitious 23.5km road, upon completion, would connect the west and east ends of the city.

On condition of anonymity, a senior official of Bihar State Road Development Corporation Ltd told The Telegraph: “The government has failed to acquire around 162 acres, affecting the work badly. The problem is not at one point as the work of land acquisition has been carried out in three districts — Patna, Vaishali and Saran.”

Former chief minister Nitish Kumar had laid the foundation stone of the Rs 3,160-crore project at the starting point, Digha Ghat (near rail-cum-road bridge), on October 11, 2013.

However, eight months down the line, the work has almost come to a standstill as the government has failed to acquire the required land.

Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd has been awarded the work for construction of the driveway and Bihar State Road Development Corporation Ltd, a wing of the state road construction department, has been assigned to look into the project development.

A few months back, the agency working on the project had faced vehement protests when engineers went for soil testing at Khajekalan ghat. The residents of Patna City chased them and claimed that the government cannot acquire the land, as the compensation amount has not yet been paid.

Asked about the reason behind problems in land acquisition, the official added: “The problem lies in distribution of compensation to the land owners. I am not in capacity to blame any particular person for this but the fact is that that project has been affected and I have serious doubt over its completion period of four years. Unless the required land be acquired, it is not possible to start the work in full pace.”

A total of around 530 acres of land is required for the project, of which the government possesses approximately 268 acres. Rest of the land is held privately and can only be acquired after paying compensation.

Of the total cost, Rs 2,770 crore has been allotted towards meeting the construction expenditure and the remaining funds (Rs 390 crore) was allotted for land acquisition and shifting of some of the existing structures that fall in the alignment of the proposed driveway.

It is being constructed on engineering procurement construction mode. Under this formula, funds are provided by the government and the agency which takes up the work is paid as per the work carried out by it.

The driveway would ease the traffic congestion on the Patna City road network.

The driveway will have may facilities like roadside furniture, streetlights, pedestrian facilities, landscaping and tree plantation and bus shelters, traffic aid post, medical aid post and vehicle rescue post.

While launching the project, the government had announced that it would ensure that the construction company completes the project much before the deadline — August 22, 2017.

Expressing disappointment over the status on the Ganga Driveway, a resident of East Boring Canal Road, Shakti Singh said: “I had heard that the government will complete the construction of Ganga Driveway work much before the deadline in just 3.5 years when Nitishji had laid the foundation stone of the project. But as you are informing me that the government has failed to acquire the land it seems that with the exit of Nitish, the mega projects in Bihar have gone for a toss.”


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