Roads, Bridges, Easy Connectivity: Bihar 2015
When Nitish Kumar started his first term as chief minister of Bihar in November 2005, one of his first priorities was improving the state’s transportation network. He knew that building roads and bridges was key to improving connectivity between different parts of the state. Robust roads and bridges would not only allow people to travel easily from one part of the state to another, but they would also allow citizens access to health clinics, education centers, and local markets, as well contribute to improved law and order.
Nitish Kumar’s government took on road and bridge construction as a high priority, with the aim of connecting villages to towns and urban centers. New roads and bridges were constructed under various schemes, such the Mukhya Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and the Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam.
Measures taken by the government of Nitish Kumar:
- Focused on building roads that connected people in the remotest parts of the state.
- Reformed the Bihar State Road Development Corporation and Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam for effective implementation of projects.
- Aimed to provide unconnected citizens with connectivity to all weather roads, especially in rural and remote areas.
- Emphasized high quality in the construction and maintenance of road and bridges.
- Sanctioned projects to make the state capital, Patna, accessible from the remotest parts of the state within six hours by road.
- Sanctioned projects to provide connectivity to all villages or tolas with a population of up to 250 people.
- Initiated public-private partnerships to undertake the construction of 4-lane projects and bridges.
- Started with building 983 kilometers of roads in 2006-07. The number peaked to 3,473 kilometers in 2009-10.
- Promulgated the “Bihar Road Asset Maintenance Policy” for service and maintenance of roads.
- Promulgated the “Long Term Output and Performance-based Roads Asset Maintenance Policy” for 9,064 kilometers of roads and allocated 2,579 crore rupees for road maintenance for 5 years.
- Adopted e-tendering for projects or more than 10 lakhs and simplified the registration process for contractors.
- Created a management information system for the Bihar State Road Development Corporation for online monitoring of government schemes.
In 2012, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar echoed the sentiments of Bihar’s people when he said, “With so many works on road and bridge construction going on, I am confident my dream that people from any remote corner of Bihar reach state capital in a maximum of six hours will very soon become a reality.”
Achievements & Impact:
- By 2013, over 17,003 kilometers of roads had been constructed in Bihar.
- Overall, the Bihar State Road Development Corporation and the Rural Works Department has constructed or upgraded over 66,000 kilometers of state highways, major district roads, and rural roads.
- Rural roads make up 90% of the total length of roads in Bihar.
- Beginning in 2005, the Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam successfully completed more than 336 bridges in just 3 years. By 2015, the government had constructed 5,431 small and large bridges.
- The government also completed the construction of parts of major national highways, including the East-West Highway (from Assam to Rajasthan) and the Golden Quadrilateral (connecting the four metros).
- Total number of registered vehicles increased from 80,000 in 2005-06 to 3,19,000 in just 5 years.
- With both public and private spending, Bihar’s construction sector grew at 47% per year between 2005-10.
Indeed, the benefits of improved connectivity in Bihar are there for all to see. Better roads and bridges are one reason for Bihar double-digit GDP during Nitish Kumar’s tenure. Small businesses have thrived. Home construction has grown manifold. Property prices have shot up. Farmers can now get their grains, vegetables, and fruits to local markets in time. Children get to school and the sick to health centers. High-quality roads have contributed to the state’s safety and security. And for many in rural Bihar, the state capital, Patna, is not far anymore.