Will Bihar be the preferred real estate destination ever?

The real estate in Bihar has lately given some hope of resurgence. People are becoming more aware of their rights (the latest demonstration was their use of voting powers to call for a change of power) and wants to be a part of the developmental boom as in the rest of India. An 'Investment commision' has been formed which will look into facilitating Bihar's development and to promoting it as an investment destination'.

The state is under a process of image building for an investor-friendly state. It promises certain advantages over already developed states in terms of cheap real estate prices, limited labour-related issues and a large educated manpower at nearly one-third the cost compared to Tier I and II cities. However, Bihar is still to go miles before it does some significant improvement in infrastructure, socio-economic backwardness, and law and order.

Will the interests shown by so many of biggies like Tata Group, MaxHealthCare and ICICI translate into actual investment in Bihar?
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  • Airport issues worry Shotgun Faryal Rumi | TNN | Jul 18, 2018, 02:00 IST

    PATNA: Patna Sahib MP Shatrughan Sinha on Tuesday underlined the need to complete the ongoing extension work at Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport before the winter season.

    “Several flights get delayed due to fog in the winter season. The Airports Authority of India should arrange temporary structures for flyers to reduce the congestion in the arrival and departure areas,” Sinha said at a meeting of the airport advisory committee of which he is the chairman.

    The meet discussed in detail the status of the ongoing works for extension of the airport terminal building. Airport director Rajender Singh Lahauria made a PowerPoint presentation at the meet.


  • Bid to install solar grid on govt buildings TNN | Jul 18, 2018, 02:00 IST

    PATNA: The Patna Smart City Limited (PSCL), under the smart city mission, has started the bidding process to rope in firms for installing solar grid on 42 government buildings in Patna under the ‘grid connected rooftop solar (PV) system’.

    These buildings include Bankipur Girls High School, Bihar School Examination Board, Bharatiya Nritya Kala Mandir, Biscomaun Bhavan, Bihar Rajya Jal Parishad, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Bankipur Bus Stand, Chamber Of Commerce and City SP Office near Gandhi Maidan, divisional commissioner office, DM residence, DM office, fire brigade office, Gandhi Museum, GPO Patna, Planetarium, Bihar Rajya Khadi Gram Udyog Board, LIC office on Exhibition Road, Sinha Library, Akashwani and Patna Museum.

    Besides, the overall current demand for power in these 42 buildings is approximately 42MW and each building would be able to generate 15.75% of the total required potential renewable energy, which is around 6.6MW.

    Other buildings include LIC office on Fraser Road, New Police Lines, New Patna Club, Magadh Mahila College, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Dakbungalow, Red Cross, Srikrishna Science Centre, Pataliputra Co-operative Bank, Youth Hostel, Bihar Grih Raksha House (NDRF), Telegraph Recreation Club, Officers Hostel, Mahalekhakar Bhavan, Kotwali police station, Kedar Bhavan (Bihar state office), Engineers Club, Electricity Board office, Doordarshan Kendra, Bihar Rajya Police Parivahan Mukhyayalaya, Bihar Pashu Chikitsa Sangh Bhavan and Maurya Lok Complex.

    “The generated solar power will be prioritized for internal consumption first. Any excess power can be exported. The solar power tariff is not under the PSCL purview. Decisions of appropriate authority like power distribution companies and state regulator may be followed,” said one of the PSCL executives.

    He said the estimated outlay for the project is around Rs99.92crore. Officials said the bidders would be finalized by the first week of August. The selected firms will work on the design, engineering, manufacture, supply, storage, civil work, erection, testing and commissioning of the grid connecting the rooftop solar PV project. The work will also include comprehensive maintenance of the project for a period of five years.

  • Minister: Survey for solar energy generation soon TNN | Jul 18, 2018, 02:00 IST

    PATNA: State energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav on Tuesday said a survey would soon be conducted for generating solar energy in flood-prone areas of Bihar and assessing future possibilities.

    Speaking at a conference on ‘Accelerating Rural Development through Enhancing Energy Access’ organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in association with Jeevika on Tuesday, the energy minister said the perception of people towards renewable resources needed to be changed.

    “Our future depends on green energy. The state education and energy departments and rural development committees should work together to set up systems to harness solar energy. Bihar has high potential for non-conventional energy and setting up solar panels on government schools’ rooftop will change the scenario,” he said.

    According to TERI’s director general Ajay Mathur, “The TERI-Jeevika project demonstrates a strong decentralized model which brings together the state government agencies, local communities and the private sector to plug the energy gap that exists even in grid-connected villages.”

    Mathur pointed out that the Centre’s Saubhagya scheme aimed at providing electricity to all households. “Under its Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL) campaign, TERI in partnership with Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (BRLPS), has benefited over 50,000 households across Bihar by providing access to solar home lighting systems and clean cook stoves,” Mathur said and added the programme’s beneficiaries were in Gaya, Khagaria, Madhubani, Purnia and West Champaran districts.

  • RERA seeks list of projects approved by govt in 5 years Faryal Rumi | TNN | Jul 18, 2018, 02:00 IST

    PATNA: Bihar Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has asked the state urban development and housing department (UDHD) to provide the list of ongoing and incomplete projects approved in the last five years by competent authorities (PMAA, PRDA, PMC and municipalities).

    RERA Bihar chairman Afzal Amanullah wrote a letter to UDHD principal secretary Chaitanya Prasad on Monday to get the access to the e-municipality software of the department as only limited number of projects in the state had been registered with RERA.

    “No builders and promoters of real estate projects from 25 out of the 38 districts have applied for registration with the authority. It is, therefore, necessary to take effective action to get all the ongoing real estate projects in the state registered under Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016,” he wrote.

    Amanullah told this newspaper on Tuesday that RERA Bihar has sought the list of ongoing real estate projects in an area exceeding 500 square metres or having more than eight flats in apartments. “We have also sought the address of builders and promoters, their contact numbers, date of approval and sanction of plans by the competent authority. We have asked UDHD to provide district-wise list to take immediate action against unscrupulous developers,” he said.

    Amanullah said all the builders have to register their projects under Section 3 of the RERA Act 2016. The builders have been asked to register their projects with RERA by July 31 with a late fee of Rs4 lakh or 400% of the registration fee, whichever is higher. The time window for registration of ongoing projects expired on April 30 and it was extended till July 31 with late fine.

    RERA Bihar member Rajiva Bhushan Sinha said 95% of the applications for registering projects had been received from Patna district alone. “The other districts from where applications have been received include Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Ara, Vaishali, Purnia, Katihar and Begusarai. RERA has received 525 applications till date and 95 of them have received RERA number. Only 11 brokers have applied for registration so far,” he said.

    RERA Bihar has sent over 130 show-cause notices to various real estate developers in three months for non-compliance and advertising their projects without registration.

  • Hyderabad experts to prepare DPRs of PMC projects TNN | Jul 18, 2018, 02:00 IST

    PATNA: The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to rope in experts from the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI)-Hyderabad for preparing detailed project reports (DPR) of its schemes.

    According to PMC commissioner Anupam Kumar Suman, a letter in this regard has been sent to the ASCI chairman. “The ASCI experts will prepare DPRs for projects such as vending zones, commercial zones and other redevelopment initiatives,” he said.

    Talking to this reporter after the PMC’s empowered standing committee meeting earlier in the day, Suman said the ASCI team would start working actively within 20 days.

    The standing committee meet also decided to form a separate division for maintenance of the Ganga riverfront. “The civic body will soon form ‘a Ganga division’, which will work for the cleanliness of ghats throughout the year. Several officials will be deputed in this division which will have a separate office, probably at the riverfront,” Suman said.

    He also said the PMC will upgrade its control room and form a ‘combat cell’. “The combat cell-cum-control room will start working from next week. We will release a toll-free number , and it will work like a call centre where public complaints will be received and forwarded to the concerned for solution,” the municipal commissioner said and added a mobile app for the purpose was also in the pipeline.

    As for other decisions at the standing committee meeting, Suman said an ‘emergency fund’ of Rs 50 lakh each was allocated to all the 75 wards for water supply management issues. Another Rs 50 lakh will be available with each ward for road repair work.

    The PMC has also floated tender for roping in firms for setting up a solid waste management plant at Ramachak Bairiya garbage dumping point, Suman said.


  • Bihar to buy Patna Ghat rail line land Piyush Tripathi | TNN | Updated: Jul 19, 2018, 14:31 IST

    State road construction minister Nand Kishor Yadav (File photo)

    PATNA: The Bihar government has decided to write to the ministry of railways to transfer the Patna Ghat-Patna Sahib railway line land to the state as it is required to provide the Loknayak Ganga Path’s connectivity with Ashok Rajpath through Patna Ghat.

    State road construction minister Nand Kishor Yadav said on Wednesday a proposal in this regard would be sent to the ministry of railways soon. “We are looking forward to a positive response from railway minister Piyush Goyal,” Nand Kishor said.

    According to the state minister, the length of railway track between Patna Ghat and Patna Sahib station is 1,250 metres and the land measures 11 acres. “A road on the Patna Ghat-Patna Sahib rail line will ease vehicular movement in eastern parts of the city,” he said.

    Nand Kishor said the trains running from Digha Ghat initially used to go to Patna Ghat, Patna Sahib, Patna Junction and R-Block, from where they were either routed back to Digha Ghat or went ahead towards Danapur.

    “Now that the railways has transferred the R-Block-Digha rail line land to the state, we are keen on getting the Patna Ghat-Patna Sahib rail line land as well,” Nand Kishor said. As for the road on the Digha-R-Block rail line land, Nand Kishor said the work would start in the current financial year. “The state government has deposited Rs 222 crore with the railways ministry as the land cost and a memorandum of understanding will soon be signed between the two parties,” he said.
    He further said the rail line was to be removed by the railways. “We have formed a team of officials under the chairmanship of Patna divisional commissioner for removal of encroachments and development of amenities on the stretch,” he said.

  • PMC to buy trash collection machines

    TNN | Updated: Jul 19, 2018, 14:24 IST

    Representative image

    PATNA: The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has initiated the process to purchase various sanitation equipment and vehicles from the government’s e-marketplace portal. Garbage collection with the help of these new instruments is expected to start from August-end.

    “We are purchasing 375 twin-bin garbage tippers, 75 twin-bin dumper placers, 300 dumper placer bins, 405 hand carts, 10 self-propelled vacuum sweeping machines, 2,000 twin-bin mounted litter bins, two super- sucker machines and 750 trash bins,” PMC commissioner Anupam Kumar Suman told this reporter and added there would be a separate sanitary inspector in each ward to supervise the garbage collection work every day.

    The decision to procure these instruments was taken at a meeting of the civic body’s empowered standing committee on Tuesday. “Subsequently, we completed the purchase process from our end,” Suman said on Wednesday.

    Mayor Sita Sahu regretted the PMC failed to ensure effective door-to door garbage work in different wards of the city despite repeated attempts. “We, therefore, decided to procure the instruments and deploy five twin-bin garbage tippers in each ward to collect garbage and transport it to the primary dumping yard at Ramachak Bairiya in three shifts a day,” she said. She said the PMC had also floated a tender for roping in firms for installing a solid waste management plant at the primary garbage point. “We will finalise the firm in next two months and it will take 9-12 months to install the plant,” she said.

    Till the new vehicles and instruments arrive, garbage collection work will be carried out by PMC’s sanitation workers. “For the time being, we will ensure the trash collection work continues with the help of available resources and manpower,” said the Mayor.

  • DM: Environment body to take call on banning Falgu sand mining Abdul Qadir | TNN | Jul 20, 2018, 01:00 IST

    GAYA: The demand for complete ban on sand mining in Falgu river between Bodh Gaya and Bitho village has been referred to the state-level Environment Impact Assessment Committee.

    Activist groups, including environmentalists have been demanding a ban on sand mining between Bodh Gaya and Bitho village to prevent vandalisation of the sacred river. Pilgrims use Falgu water for offering ‘tarpan’ during the performance of ‘pindadaan’ rituals for the salvation of ancestral souls and retention of porosity to facilitate smooth water flow from the river surface to the bowl-like formation beneath the river bed that stores water.

    Such stored water caters to the requirement of nearly half-a-million Gayaites throughout the year. Well known environmentalist and former head of the botany department of Magadh University, late Prof SP Chakhaiyyar strongly pitched for sand mining ban.

    Confirming the reference made to the state-level environment body, district magistrate Abhishek Singh said, “The environment body did have the expertise and domain knowledge to assess the impact of sand mining in Falgu river. The district administration will follow the state body directives in the matter. The SEAC was in a position to take a holistic view of the issue.”

    Besides activists, Gayawal pandas too favour a total ban on Falgu river. According to panda leader Mahesh Lal Guput, “Due to indiscriminate sand mining, Falgu has changed its course and it has moved away from the township with the result that not enough water was available in the Vishnupad area for performance of rituals. Ban on sand mining in the Gaya Municipal Corporation area was also needed to prevent further dipping of the water table,” said the panda leader.

    As per lease conditions, sand mining is permissible upto a maximum depth of three meters and no mechanised mining is allowed in day time. Moreover, mining activity is prohibited at certain points like the vicinity of bridge etc. But these conditions are rarely followed.

    Deep mining, well below the three meter limit is done and mechanised mining is also done during the prohibited hours. Following the SC directive, sand mining activity stands banned for a three-month period beginning July 1. Reports reaching the district headquarters say that in violation of the three month ban, illegal mining is being done in Falgu and Morhar rivers on a largescale. According to the DM, nearly half-a-dozen vehicles carrying illegally mined sand are seized each day in the district.


  • October deadline to complete gas pipeline laying work TNN | Jul 20, 2018, 02:00 IST

    PATNA: The gas pipeline laying work that started from the Patna campus of BIT-Mesra under the Jagdishpur-Haldia-Bokaro-Dhamra pipeline project of Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has reached its final phase.

    According to an official of one of the private firms engaged by GAIL to execute the project, households in the city will get cheaper piped natural gas (PNG) supply by October this year. The GAIL had engaged two private firms to implement the project in the city. The original deadline was December this year. However, the two firms are hopeful of completing the project by October itself.

    “The pipeline laying work which started from BIT-Mesra campus has already covered localities like BSEB Colony, Rajbanshi Nagar, Shastri Nagar, Jagdeo Path, Saguna Mor and Sabri Nagar,” said Arvind Kumar, senior executive of a private firm engaged by GAIL for the project. “Gas connection is being provided to some apartments in Khajpura area. PNG will reach flats in these apartments soon,” he added.

    “A city gas station (CGS) is being set up at Phulwarisharif to supply PNG to every household. The station will be connected with as many as nine district regulating stations which are being constructed at Gaighat, Zero Mile Transport Nagar, Government Bus Depot, Danapur Cantonment, Kankerbagh, Railway Colony (Danapur), one between Saguna Mor and Jagdeo Path and two near Gandhi Maidan,” said a GAIL official.

    Arvind said the work to provide household PNG connections has also started in some areas. “PNG is cheaper than LPG. Sixteen units of PNG mean one domestic LPG cylinder. As of now, the price of a unit of PNG (1kg) is Rs 25. While the cost of using PNG for a month would come to Rs 250 (depending on use), the LPG cylinder that would last for a month is priced at Rs 680 without subsidy. Consumers will have to pay some initial amount for availing PNG supply for which the registrations have already started,” he added.

  • Nitish: Start repair of rural roads after 2 months TNN | Jul 20, 2018, 02:00 IST

    PATNA: Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday directed the rural works department to frame rules for the repair and maintenance of rural roads and start repair works after two months on the rural roads which have not been repaired for long after their five-year maintenance period ended.

    The CM also approved the department’s demand for around Rs 3,000 crore for maintenance of such roads measuring 35,000km.

    The CM issued the directives while reviewing the functioning of rural works department which is involved in construction, repair and maintenance of rural roads. The CM assessed the status of the existing roads and also discussed the roads to be constructed in the next two years.

    Department minister Shailesh Kumar, development commissioner Shashi Shekhar Sharma, principal secretary (finance) Sujata Chaturvedi, principal secretary to CM Chanchal Kumar, secretaries Atish Chandra and Vinay Kumar as well as special secretary to CM Anupam Kumar and other senior officials and engineers attended the review meet.

    The state has 73,000 km of rural roads, which link 74,000 habitations. In the next two years, habitations with 250+ population each and 4,647 ‘tolas’ – which are part of the main revenue village – have to be given linkage with newly constructed rural roads.

    There are 9,500 rural roads measuring 35,000 km whose five-year maintenance period has ended and, as such, they are getting damaged. The CM said the scenario had to be reversed. Also, there are 1,400 roads whose five-year maintenance period ended five years ago.

  • Nitin Gadkari blames Bihar for delay in highway projects Piyush Tripathi | TNN | Updated: Jul 20, 2018, 08:16 IST

    Nitin Gadkari (File photo)

    PATNA: Union minister of transport and highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday again blamed the Nitish Kumar government of Bihar for delay in acquisition of lands for road projects in the state.

    Replying to a question raised by RJD’s Banka MP Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav on the delay in execution of a national highway (NH) project in Banka-Jamui areas, Gadkari said there were several such projects in Bihar. “They involve acquisition of agricultural land which is costlier for acquisition than other categories of land. Besides, getting environment and forests clearance is a time-taking process. We cannot start work on NH projects unless 80% of the required land is acquired,” Gadkari said.

    The minister simultaneously hailed “many other states” for doing pretty well in terms of land acquisition for NH projects. “You ask your district collector to acquire land and we will ensure the project is executed in time,” Gadkari told Yadav.

    In Patna, Bihar road construction minister Nand Kishor Yadav admitted land acquisition was a challenge in the state. He, however, said the stipulation of 80% land acquisition in advance for NH projects was a major “deterrent”.

    “The population density per kilometre is quite high in Bihar which has mostly agriculture land. People also do not easily give up their land... Yet the state government is trying its best to acquire land for different projects and its monitoring is also done on monthly basis,” Nand Kishor told TOI.

    Incidentally, this is for the second time that Gadkari has blamed the Nitish government for delay in NH projects. On June 15, he told reporters in Delhi that he there were projects worth Rs 2 lakh crore for Bihar but acquiring land was quite difficult in the state.

    The Nitish government had come out with a statement the next day, claiming only four projects sanctioned under the PM Narendra Modi’s special package were delayed owing to land acquisition issues.

  • HC orders administration to chalk out plan to remove encroachment around Patna junction flyover Debashish Karmakar | TNN | Updated: Jul 20, 2018, 18:23 IST

    Representative image

    PATNA: The Patna high court on Friday ordered the Patna district magistrate (DM), senior superintendent of police (SSP) and commissioner of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) to hold a meeting together and chalk out plan to remove all types of encroachment below and around the flyover near Patna railway junction.

    The division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad ordered the authorities to submit the plan prepared after the meeting within two weeks before the high court.

    The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Ravindra Kumar Karn.

    The court, while hearing the matter, also ordered the authorities to appraise the court of what action was taken till date to get rid of the encroachments.

    “Prima facie, we found the petitioner's allegations that encroachers are mushrooming under and around the flyover near the Patna junction day by day and some of them have also constructed small godowns in the said area, to be true,” the court observed during the hearing.

    “The encroachment has led to congestion of traffic too,” the court said, adding, it would be forced to issue judicial notice to authorities on the facts at the ground if situation remained same.

    Expedite process appointing chairman for BHRC

    The division bench, while hearing another PIL, ordered the state government to expedite the process for appointment of chairman of Bihar Human Rights Commission (BHRC) and against vacancies in other constitutional and statutory bodies, board, corporation, council, commission and other executive institutions in the state which were lying vacant for last several months.

    The court was hearing a PIL filed by Nagrik Adhikar Manch in which it gave three weeks’ time to state government to file a counter affidavit on the issue indicating developments had took place till now in making the appointments.

    Manch’s counsel Dinu Kumar said that such was the situation that position of chairman for BHRC was lying vacant since November 2, 2016 and government have not been able to fill it yet.

    PMC official summoned

    Annoyed with PMC and state government’s failure to file reply even after four weeks, the Patna high court on Friday summoned officer in-charge of PMC and state government, who were looking after the matter of illegal small scale iron chest and almirah manufacturing factories in Sultanganj and Alamganj area.

    The high court, in the last hearing on PILs filed by Salimullah and Saroj Kumar which took place on June 20, had ordered state government and PMC to file counter affidavits within four weeks’ time that if the area where factories are functional, falls under commercial or residential category in the master plan to Patna and what action government intends to take if such activities were not permissible in the area.

    The Bihar State Pollution Control Board, in its affidavit submitted earlier, had mentioned 94 factories were functional in the area and were creating noise and air pollution. The court of Patna City SDM on September 29, 2017, had issued orders that either owners remove their factories by themselves or shift it far from densely populated residential areas as they were resulting ailments to common people, public nuisance and pollution in the area.

    The officials would have to remain present before court with reply on August 13. The petitioners were represented by Sweta Pandey, Manisha Pandey and Deepak Kumar.


  • Centre sanctions Rs 457 crore for two roads Piyush Tripathi | TNN | Updated: Jul 21, 2018, 10:17 IST

    Centre sanctions Rs 457 crore for two roads

    PATNA: Ministry of road, transport and highways has sanctioned Rs457.36 crore under Central Road Funds for four-laning of Pahadi to Masaurhi and Sasaram to GT Road in Bihar, state road construction minister Nand Kishor Yadav said on Friday. The corresponding works will be completed in 24 months, he added.

    “Union minister Nitin Gadkari sent an approval letter for the two projects today. It will improve the connectivity to GT road in south Bihar as well as augment the development in central parts of the state,” Nand Kishor said.

    He said Rs57.037 crore is for four-laning of 5.5km-long Suara-Kumhu road, which connects GT Road. “The four-laning of 38km-long Pahadi-Masaurhi road has been divided into two parts. Funds to the tune of Rs175.351 crore have been sanctioned for four-laning of the first 16km of Sadikpur-Pabhera-Masaurhi road and Rs224.977 crore for four-laning of the remaining 22km of the road,” he said.

    Nand Kishor said the Sadikpur-Pabhera-Masaurhi road would also provide connectivity to the proposed interstate bus terminal at Bairiya in Patna. He said talks on these projects were held with Gadkari around two months ago. “The sanction of funds for the projects within two months shows how development is expedited due to double-engine government of NDA at the Centre and in Bihar,” he said.

    The funds, however, have been sanctioned with several stipulations, including cost-escalation not permissible beyond 10% of the approved cost. Any excess beyond 10% of the approved cost is to be met by the state government. Also, the state government is required to submit quarterly utilization certificate for the funds and progress in the works.

  • Gaya power distribution row: SC dismisses plea of private co Abdul Qadir | TNN | Jul 22, 2018, 01:00 IST

    GAYA: A Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Indu Malhotra on Friday dismissed the appeal filed by India Power, the private company earlier having franchise for electricity distribution in Gaya town, Bodh Gaya and Manpur areas of the district, for the retention of its power distribution rights.

    Earlier, the South Bihar Power Distribution Company Ltd (SBPDCL) had prematurely terminated the 15-year agreement it had signed with India Power and took over the power distribution job from the intervening midnight of July 3 and 4.

    India Power had got the distribution franchise for 15 years in 2014 with a provision containing premature termination of the contract for reasons of performance deficit and violation of the terms of the agreement subject to a one-month notice prior to the final termination of agreement.

    Earlier, accusing India Power of not honouring its commitment on revenue share and other financial obligations, the SBPDCL had served several notices threatening withdrawal of franchise rights. Denying any wrongdoing on its part, the India Power preferred arbitration as well as litigation. Besides approaching the arbitrator, the private company approached the Patna high court seeking an order to restrain the government company from executing its notice to terminate the agreement.

    A single judge bench of Justice Vikash Jain on June 22 temporarily restrained SBPDCL from any coercive action against the private company till the resumption of arbitration proceedings. The single bench order was later stayed by a division bench of HC comprising Justices A K Tripathi and Nilu Agrawal. The division bench order paved the way for the government company takeover of the power distribution job.

    Aggrieved by the division bench order, the private company filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. On July 3, the SC issued notice to the SBPDCL seeking its response within two weeks. The India Power appeal was finally dismissed on Friday.

    R Lakshmanan, managing director of SBPDCL, said the distribution company was committed to ensuring quality power and a transparent billing mechanism. According to Laxmanan, in the last four years, power availability has gone up from 1700 MW to 5000 MW.

    India Power general manager (finance) Rakesh Ranjan said the company has accepted the SC verdict with grace.

  • Meet the messiahs of birds from city Md Hanif and his son Md Asim are probably two kind-hearted souls, who have taken it upon themselves to lend these birds a safe environment

    TNN | Jul 21, 2018, 16:46 IST

    Growing population, increase in the number of cars, pollution and rapidly changing weather — Patna no doubt has progressed in the last few years. But sadly, it has become a nightmare for birds. Last year, nearly 500 pigeons died in Bihar due to pollution and reckless attitude of people. In such a scenario, Md Hanif and his son Md Asim are probably two kind-hearted souls, who have taken it upon themselves to lend these birds a safe environment.

    A beautiful beginning

    Md Hanif, a 90-year-old fruit seller, forged a unique bond with birds on his trip to Mecca. Once he returned home, he started building safe abodes for birds, with help of his son, in and around Chiriyat Bridge, where he used to sell fruits. Now you can find more than 25 man-made nests, where hundreds of birds come looking for shade. When quizzed, Md Asim said, “Earlier, birds used to come and rest at our stall. We used to give them food and water. But once we closed the shop in the evening, they’d fly away. At times, these birds would get electrocuted. We felt terrible. And that’s why my father and I started building cardboard nests.”

    Not a smooth sail

    In 2006, Md Hanif started building artificial nests with cartons. Sounds simple? But it was not that easy. When the fatherson duo hung the nests around the bridge, municipality workers took them off in the name of cleanliness. “We had requested them so many times not to disturb the arrangement, but they wouldn’t listen. So, we’d keep building nests and they’d take them off again. It was a big struggle,” said Md Asim.

    Initially, birds wouldn’t come to stay in the nests. It took them some time to understand they were safe. “In some of the nests, there were bird eggs and a few birds who were about to lay eggs. It was very painful for us to see them cry at their loss. It made us more determined and we put the nests back again,” he added.

    An unbreakable bond

    Although animals and birds don’t understand our language, they do understand the language of love. “My father is 90. So, he can’t come to the shop often due to his deteriorating health. But whenever he drops by, these birds greet him with a loud chirp. Initially, we didn’t understand. But now we know it’s their way of welcoming abba,” Md Asim signed off with a smile
    — Sweta Bharti