The Centre today said more than half of the road projects sanctioned under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special Bihar package had taken off and work was likely to commence on the remaining ones soon. “Road projects under the special package are 65 in number and involve a total cost of Rs 55,000 crore. Of these, 36 worth Rs 22,000 crore have taken off while DPRs have been submitted for another nine. The state government has said that DPRs will be submitted for the remaining 20,” Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari told reporters. Modi had announced a Rs 1.25-lakh crore package for the state in 2015, shortly before Bihar went to assembly polls. Expectations have been high with regard to implementation of the package following Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s return to the BJP-led NDA last year. Gadkari was speaking to journalists in the presence of Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and other top officials of the state after holding detailed discussions on projects relating to roads and Ganga rejuvenation.
The Union Minister also said that “during the meeting with the chief minister and other senior functionaries of the state government, we agreed for handing over construction of a number of roads to the National Highway Authority of India, including a 552-km-long stretch along the Indo-Nepal border”. “A proposed new bridge on the Ganges, parallel to the Vikramshila Setu in Bhagalpur, and speedy repair of the Mahatma Gandhi Setu in Patna also figured during the day’s discussions. So did the Patna Ring Road project,” Gadkari said. Gadkari, who also holds Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation portfolios, said, “A total of 97 projects have been sanctioned under Namami Gange. Out of these, work has started on 87. Namami Gange is a huge challenge. It involves curbing the discharge of effluent in nine cities, most notably Kanpur, as well as in some 4,500 villages situated along the river.”