Nitish blasts Centre over roads

Chief minister warns opposition of indulging in politics over construction of Kachi Dargah-Bidupur bridge

By Anand Raj in Patna
  • Published 5.04.15
Chief minister Nitish Kumar uses a remote control at Samvad Bhavan in Patna on Saturday to lay the foundation stone of various projects as road construction minister Lallan Singh looks on. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Patna, April 4: Chief minister Nitish Kumar and Centre have virtually locked horns over construction of the proposed six-lane bridge over the Ganga - parallel to Gandhi Setu - between Kachi Dargah and Bidupur.

Nitish chose the occasion of the road construction department's function to attack the Centre for throwing a spanner in the construction of Kachi Dargah-Bidupur bridge to reap political benefits. He also warned the opposition (BJP) that they are daydreaming like "Mungeri Lal", referring to a popular Hindi TV comedy directed by Prakash Jha that revolved around the life of Mungerilal, played by Raghubir Yadav, who day dreamed on various issues.

Kachi Dargah is in Patna while Bidupur is in Vaishali district and would connect north and south Bihar. It would work as an alternative to Mahatma Gandhi setu, which is crumbling under heavy traffic rush.

"Everything is finalised and the tender would be floated to start work by July on the Kachi Dargah-Bidupur bridge and Asian Development Bank has sanctioned Rs 3,000 crore as loan. But now we have come to know that the Centre would construct the bridge. Why and how have they suddenly come out of their slumber? Why is the Centre is showing concern for Bihar?" Nitish said.

The total cost of the scheme is expected to be around Rs 5,000 crore of which 40 per cent would be borne by the state government.

Giving an example, Nitish referred to the Patna-Bodhgaya four-lane expressway. He said: "The state government started working on the project with the Centre's consent but suddenly the central government said it would construct the road. It has been five years down the line but work is yet to start on this stretch."

"If the Centre wants to construct the bridge, they should take over the project but they will have to give a guarantee that work on the bridge would start by August. Don't create obstacles and indulge in any kind of posturing on this issue, Nitish said, challenging the Modi government.

Portal, number help

Nitish also launched a portal and a toll-free number 18003456233, under the road maintenance public grievance redressal system where people could lodge their complaints and give suggestions on condition of roads. The number would work from 8am to 8pm. The complainant would get a number through which the one can check the status of his complaint on the site.

Condition of NHs

"We have a road maintenance policy for state highways and major district roads. What about national highways, which are in poor condition? We spent Rs 969 crore for their maintenance but the Centre has not given us back the money. The Centre should either improve the conditions of national highways or give us in writing that it would give money for maintenance of national highways," Nitish said.

On the bad condition of national highways in the state, Nitish remarked: "When would achchhe din come for national highways in Bihar?"