Thursday, May 21, 2009

Smooth roads win Nitish people's hearts and votes


PATNA: The RJD regime mocked at the question of making smooth roads in Bihar. Sometimes the people were told that good roads benefit only persons
who owned Marutis and sometimes it taunted that it would make roads as smooth as Bollywood star Hema Malini's cheeks. However, after the debacle in the Lok Sabha polls no matter how stubbornly the RJD maintains that development does not result into votes, privately they admit that apart from consolidation of EBCs and Mahadalits, it was the vastly improved road conditions which went heavily against them. "Villagers taunted me when I went to ask them for votes. They told me that I would not have made it to the village to ask for votes had it not been for the newly-constructed votes," recalled a senior RJD leader. Just a few facts and figures. The Plan outlay for construction of roads during the RJD regime was just about Rs 50 crore. Even that amount was never spent. The Plan outlay for the roads for 2009-10 is over Rs 2,300 crore. Till April 15 this year out of the total length of 2035 kms of state highway, about 1288 kms have not only been improved but also upgraded to double lane as Bihar strives to be the the first state in India to have all its state highways upgraded to double-lane roads. Out of about 8000 kms of main district roads (MDRs), a total length of 3432 kms have already been upgraded. Of the 2000 National Highways passing Bihar, over 1200 kms have been already upgraded. For two laning of state highways, Bihar negotiated one of the fastest deal for a 420 million dollar loan for the Asian Develoment Bank and is poised to make another deal with the same bank. During the RJD regime there were a group of contractors backed by powerful dons-turned-politicians numbering less than 50. Now after conducting a road show in Delhi and Mumbai, the state road construction department registered over 1300 new construction companies making a prfit of over Rs 9 crore as registration fee and tremendously increasing its construction capacity. "The government was very focused on improving road conditions in Bihar. Procedural time for sanctioning schemes and allotment of funds were cut down and there was no interferance. I was given a free hand," said road construction department principal secretary R K Singh — the man CM Nitish Kumar entrusted to improve thye state's road conditions. He spoke about his department becoming a professional organization — imposing fines on contractors for delaying work or poor quality and giving incentives for fast and quality completion. It's small wonder that as many as 76 construction companies have been black-listed. The end result has been that it has made Nitish's road to victory smooth.

Courtsey : The Times Of India

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