Patna, Sep 3: Until a few years ago, Bihar was known for roads filled with pits or pits filling the roads. Tall claims were made to build roads similar to 'Hema Malinis cheeks'. Today Bihar Road Construction Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nand Kishore Yadav claims that not only do the villages have paved roads but Bihar has become the first state where a 'maintenance policy' has been formulated to repair roads.
There has been a change in the working style in Bihar, Yadav said, as a result of which work has been done in all areas, not just the roads alone.
In an interview to IANS, citing statistical data Yadav said only 42.36 per cent of the amount earmarked in 2003-04 was spent on road construction while in 2004-05 it was only 42.03 per cent. He claimed that the situation in the state has changed as up to 99 per cent of the road construction department's money has been spent this fiscal.
The BJP leader said during 2017-18, 99.2 per cent of the road construction department's money was utilised while in 2018-19, 97.3 per cent of the earmarked funds were spent.
He said this change was now visible on the ground. Recalling the situation 15 years ago, Yadav said it was only after the NDA government was formed that an action plan was prepared for roads, aimed at reaching the capital Patna from any region in the state in not more than six hours. Having met this goal, he added, work is now going on to meet the new target of five hours.
Yadav said, "There were only 16 bridges along the six major rivers of the state -- Ganga, Kosi, Gandak, Sone, Bagmati and Phalgu -- till the NDA government came to power. However, during the tenure of the NDA government 25 bridges were built and 14 are under construction."
Quoting data, Yadav said Bihar's villages have now been connected with paved roads.
According to Yadav, in 2005 the intermediate lane length of the National Highways including other roads in the state was 2,593 km but today it has exceeded 6,261 km. Similarly 15 years ago, double-carriageway roads were nearly 1,369 km, now they have increased to more than 6,471 km. The length of more than two-lane roads was only 860 km in Bihar which has increased to 2,378 km now.
Yadav said that many radical transformations have taken place. When a road is constructed there is a specific life span for it. In order to reduce or eliminate the complaints of deterioration of roads, the maintenance policy has been incorporated into the tender itself.
The company constructing the roads is also given the responsibility of repairing the roads for a period of five years or a certain specific time. Bihar is the first state, he added, to have implemented this policy, which has reduced complaints of road damage.
He said the work of repairing roads is not an easy task. Road ambulances have been arranged which contain all the equipment and material required for repairing the roads which have been divided into different segments.
Asked about future plans, the minister said the construction of a ring road outside Patna and construction of roads from Magadh to Mithilanchal remains to be done. The government, he added, is working on a plan to provide four-lane roads for travel to any part of the state from Patna.