The World Bank has given its consent to fund the Ganga riverfront development project, clearing the clouds of uncertainty hovering over it.
Confirming the development on Wednesday, urban development and housing secretary S. Siddharth told The Telegraph: “The World Bank gave its approval on funding the Patna riverfront development project in June. We were communicated about it recently. We intend to invite bids for the construction work within a month.”
The much-awaited Ganga riverfront project envisages development of a 6.5km-long and 15ft-wide walkway along the banks of the river. It would be complemented by 500 benches, decorative lights, trees, lavatories and kiosks. The World Bank would contribute 63 per cent of the estimated project cost of Rs 262.37 crore.
The riverfront development project comes under the ambit of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA). A World Bank-funded body, the NGRBA’s goals are effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the Ganga.
The Centre (NGRBA) would bear the 70 per cent of the estimated cost of the Ganga riverfront development project. The rest of the 30 per cent expenses would be borne by the state. The World Bank would contribute 90 per cent of the share of the Centre, which comes to 63 per cent of the total project cost.
The nodal agency for the NGRBA in Bihar is the urban development and housing department. It has appointed Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCo) as the implementing agency for the Ganga riverfront development project.
A source in BUIDCo said the bid documents for the project had been prepared and the corporation was waiting for go-ahead from the urban development and housing department for floating tenders. The project would be completed within two years from the date of commencement of work.
The riverfront development project entails beautification of 21 ghats, divided into four urban precincts. The first precinct would cover the riverfront between Collectorate Ghat and Mahendru Ghat. Its target is to draw people to the riverfront from the areas around Gandhi Maidan.
The second includes the riverfront between Mishri Ghat and Patna College Ghat, frequented by youngsters — mostly Patna University students.
The third precinct would cover the riverfront between Gandhi Ghat and Rani Ghat. It would supplement the religious activities undertaken on this stretch. The fourth would be from Bhadra Ghat to Naujar Ghat. It would mainly cater to the mixed community in densely populated areas in that stretch.
All the four precincts would be connected by the walkway or promenade, mostly elevated. The detailed project report for the riverfront development includes provision for a lush green park at Patna College Ghat and Gai Ghat. It also speaks about a community and cultural centre at Collectorate Ghat and Bhadra Ghat.
The Union ministry of forests and environment gave the environmental clearance to the project three years after the state urban development and housing department submitted the original detailed project report for the riverfront development. The forests and environment ministry received the document in January 2010. Its approval came this March.