Smooth today, faster tomorrow

Bouquet of gifts in run-up to elections

By Ramashankar
  • Published 24.08.15
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An official of Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam demonstrates a model to chief minister Nitish Kumar in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey

Residents on Sunday received several gifts in the form of projects that would connect the city better.

Ahead of the Assembly elections, chief minister Nitish Kumar laid the foundation stone of the much-awaited Kachchi Dargah-Bidupur six-lane road bridge over Ganga, parallel to the Gandhi Setu.

The bridge, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore, would connect Patna with north Bihar. The project already has the approval of the cabinet, which had cleared the proposal of the road construction department on July 18.

Of the 20km-long bridge, 9.76km would be over the Ganga and the rest would be the approach road.

The bridge, to be constructed over a period of four years, would be a relief in terms of connecting the capital with the north Bihar districts, as the dilapidated Gandhi Setu, at present the only road link, is in need of urgent overhaul. Parts of the bridge have already been closed owing to the poor condition of the bridge.

Elaborating on the importance of the bridge to be constructed with the financial assistance from Asian Development Bank, Nitish said: "The project will augment the development of Raghopur diara in Vaishali, which was considered to be inaccessible. The prices of land will undoubtedly go up in areas like Raghopur in the days to come."

"The Asian Development Bank has provided a loan of Rs 3,000 crore, the remaining amount would be given by the state," Nitish said.

All the six lanes would be cable-layed. "We have been working on it since 2010 when I visited Raghopur to campaign for the Assembly polls and the people there demanded a bridge. Raghopur has a population of around 1 lakh," Nitish said.

Raghopur is considered to be a strong bastion of Yadavs and Lalu's younger son, Tejaswi, is likely to be fielded from the constituency in the upcoming Assembly polls. Many opined that Nitish's specific mention of the place was intentional, as he wants to keep RJD chief Lalu Prasad in good stead ahead of the polls.

The Kachchi Dargah-Bidupur road would also connect Mahua through Desari from where Lalu's elder son Tej Pratap is all set to contest the polls.

"Nitish ji decided to start the work on the bridge keeping in mind the forthcoming Assembly poll. It is a political move. Even the tender process is incomplete but the chief minister chose to lay the foundation stone," said Bipin Kumar, a resident of Bidupur in Vaishali.

The chief minister also laid the foundation stone for the start of the approach road to Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge, which has become a bone of contention between the Centre and the state.

While the state has been accusing the Centre for the slow progress of the bridge work, the Centre have been accusing the state of not providing land for undertaking the necessary work for making the bridge operational.

Speaking on the occasion, Nitish said: "The approach road work from Sonepur side has started. The approach road is being constructed keeping in mind the traffic flow both in the capital and its adjoining areas."

Nitish said the work on the southern side of the mega rail-cum-road bridge on the Ganga was underway. Instructions have already been given to the officials concerned to complete the approach road on the southern end at the earliest, he added.

The chief minister also laid the foundation stone of a project, which aims to connect the Mithapur flyover with Chiraiyatand overbridge. Once constructed, it would allow commuters to go directly towards Kankerbagh without touching the crowded Karbigahiya side of Patna railway station.

Nitish, in fact, launched projects worth more than Rs 19,000 crore, which includes works related to road, bridge, energy and other sectors.

Nitish also announced the launch of second phase of Kosi rehabilitation and reconstruction project on the occasion. The announcement came within a week Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at Nitish on the 2008 Kosi deluge at a public rally in Saharsa.