Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bihar to set up road development authority

Bihar has decided to set up a road development authority to speed up construction of roads in a state where infrastructure is in pitiful shape. According to official sources, the idea of setting up the Bihar State Road Development Authority (BSRDA) was mooted during a meeting on road construction chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over the weekend. "The chief minister directed that BSRDA be set up to monitor the construction of roads across the state," an official said. Road Construction Minister Nand Kishor Yadav said: "Officials have been asked to constitute the BSRDA soon." BSRDA would be a small body comprising technical and management experts and would have independent financial and administrative powers. It would be entrusted with the power to acquire land for road construction. Bihar is notorious for poor road connectivity. Most of the existing roads and highways are believed to be in a bad condition. This is despite budget allocations that run into billions of rupees. Last year the Patna High Court rapped the government on its failure to improve the condition of roads. In January again, the court directed the government to start building roads at the earliest and submit a report by March. The slow pace of road construction in Bihar is also attributed to threats criminal gangs mete out to construction firms. Last week, two engineers of Narsingh Constructions were killed in Madhepura, 200 km from Patna, for not paying an extortion of Rs 10 million.
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