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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  • ‘Anti-pollution plans inadequate’ TNN | Updated: May 12, 2018, 08:27 IST Representative image

    PATNA: The Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) on Friday questioned the credibility of the National Clean Air Programme’s (NCAP) concept note that was released by the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change last month.

    Addressing a press conference here, CEED chief executive officer (CEO) Ramapati Kumarsaid the concept note, seeking to reduce pollution by 50% in 100 cities across the country in five years, was “inadequate” and “limited”.

    “Air pollution knows no boundaries. Of the 4,000 cities and towns in India, why has the focus been shifted to only 100? What about the rest of them?” asked Kumar.

    The Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change has uploaded the NCAP’s concept note to its website and invited comments from various stakeholders by May 17.

    According to CEED programme director Abhishek Pratap, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) — the country’s apex pollution monitoring and control body — has identified at least 94 non-attainment cities that are guilty of flouting particulate matter norms.

    “Surprisingly, not a single city of Bihar, where air pollution is an equally crucial problem, has been included in the list. While the NCAP will be implemented in 15 cities of neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, we will not avail the benefits of the national level programme. Did the CBCP not consult the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) while preparing the list?” Pratap asked and urged the state government to get in touch with the Centre immediately.

    Kumar and Pratap also pointed out that the NCAP might not be able to handle the problem of air pollution with the “required urgency”. They said, “We have multiple laws, rules and regulations to control pollution, but most of them are poorly implemented.”

    ‘City needs 20 more monitoring stations’: CEED CEO Ramapati Kumar welcomed the clean air action plan envisaged by the BSPCB for reducing air pollution in Patna. It includes phasing out 15-year-old vehicles, introducing clean fuel and banning registration of diesel-driven autorickshaws. He, however, urged the government to increase the number of air quality monitoring stations in the state capital.

    “For more accurate data, we need at least 20 monitoring stations in the city alone. Although it is a costly affair, low-cost indigenous monitoring stations can also serve the purpose,” said Kumar.

  • Underground cable at Maurya Lok soon

    PATNA: The empowered standing committee of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday decided to get underground power cables laid at Maurya Lok Complex from June-end.

    “The hanging dilapidated overhead wires will be replaced. The bidding process will begin immediately and the work will start by the end of June,” said deputy municipal commissioner Vishal Anand after the meeting. He also said the ongoing drainage- cleaning works as part of the monsoon preparedness was also reviewed in the meeting. “The desilting work is expected to be over by June 15,” Vishal said.

    PMC’s municipal secretary Abdul Hamid said other agendas in the meeting included the construction of an official-cum- commercial complex at Arya Kumar Road near Machhua Toli and procuring more cleanliness equipment among others. Sources said the proposed complex is slated to come up over an area of 52 kattha.

    Chief engineer Ashok Kumar said, “The state urban development and housing department has been requested to provide transaction adviser on public-private-partnership mode for execution of the project.”

    Another senior official of PMC said, “Currently, the committee is focused on reviewing the progress of pending works, instead of passing new projects.”

    Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/underground-cable-at-maurya-lok-soon/articleshow/64128707.cms

  • Construction of road along Digha-Danapur canal over

    PATNA: The Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited (BSRDCL) recently completed the construction work of a ten- metre-wide road along the western embankment of Digha-Danapur canal.

    The road also passes underneath the Digha-AIIMS elevated road that connects NH-98 near AIIMS to Digha (on the Ganga Path) at Patna.

    “The 10.6km road embankment can serve as the best option for people travelling from AIIMS at Phulwarisharif, Bailey Road and Digha. It is of four lanes for 2km from AIIMS and the remaining stretch is of two lanes that also connects to Ashok Rajpath, one of the most congested roads in Patna,” a BSRDCL official said on Thursday.

    The road will serve as an alternative for Digha-AIIMS elevated road as the elevated structure does not have any intermediate connectivity, he said.

    Giving details of the project, the official said the contract was allotted to Mumbai-based Gammon India Limited and the work that began in September 2016 was completed on April 19 this year. The Rs 124-crore project was funded by the BSRDCL, he said and added street lights have been installed along the entire stretch.

    Locals are delighted. “This road is a boon for people travelling from Digha to Phulwarisharif and vice versa. We earlier had to take a circuitous route via Danapur or Bailey Road to reach either side. The travel time and distance have also reduced drastically,” said Pratysh Kumar of Ashiana Nagar.

    Trader Nihar Hissariya nodded. “The vehicular inflow on Digha- Danapur and Ashiana-Danapur roads has increased following the opening of the Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge. As such, there was an urgent need of an alternate road to avoid congestion of vehicles,” Nihar said.

    Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/construction-of-road-along-digha-danapur-canal-over/articleshow/64128589.cms

  • Underground cable at Maurya Lok soon TNN | May 12, 2018, 02:00 IST

    PATNA: The empowered standing committee of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday decided to get underground power cables laid at Maurya Lok Complexfrom June-end.

    “The hanging dilapidated overhead wires will be replaced. The bidding process will begin immediately and the work will start by the end of June,” said deputy municipal commissioner Vishal Anand after the meeting. He also said the ongoing drainage- cleaning works as part of the monsoon preparedness was also reviewed in the meeting. “The desilting work is expected to be over by June 15,” Vishal said.

    PMC’s municipal secretary Abdul Hamid said other agendas in the meeting included the construction of an official-cum- commercial complex at Arya Kumar Road near Machhua Toli and procuring more cleanliness equipment among others. Sources said the proposed complex is slated to come up over an area of 52 kattha.

    Chief engineer Ashok Kumar said, “The state urban development and housing department has been requested to provide transaction adviser on public-private-partnership mode for execution of the project.”

    Another senior official of PMC said, “Currently, the committee is focused on reviewing the progress of pending works, instead of passing new projects.”

  • Plan to install water meters in city for free TNN | May 13, 2018, 02:00 IST

    PATNA: Water meters will be installed in houses and organizations in the state capital under the area based development (ABD) scheme for free, announced Patna divisional commissioner-cum-chairperson of the Patna Smart City project, Anand Kishor, on Friday.

    Luis Frauca, the director of Spanish firm Eptisa Servicios de Ingenieria SL, which is the management consultant for the Smart City project and also the director of cities and innovation and technology, discussed about the water supply smart solution at a meeting held with Kishor and others here on Friday.

    Under the ABD plan, smart meters will be installed in every household and organization of the city. The smart meter distribution network will consist of GPS-enabled sensors that will monitor the water supply. The GPS sensors would provide real-time status of the distribution that would be monitored through an Integrated Command and Control System (ICCC). Not only the supply of water will be monitored, but the system will also analyse the quality of water, like the pH value, dissolvent, chlorine content and purity of water, depending on which the related problems could be resolved easily.

    The benefits of this smart metering system includes optimization of billing of water use, detection of quantification of leaks and efficient water management. The data would be available to SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) Control Centre. “The deployed team can take proactive measures and decisions on the basis of real-time data available on a single dashboard,” said Kishor. He added that this system would also help in detecting various waterborne diseases that are harmful for the people consuming it.

    Frauca and Kishor also discussed about the other ongoing schemes under smart city project such as riverfront development project, command and control centre and railway network development. Frauca said the additional manpower required would be provided by the company for pacing up the work.

  • Digha-AIIMS elevated road gets December date TNN | Updated: May 13, 2018, 07:16 IST
    The Digha-AIIMS elevated corridor under construction in Patna.

    PATNA: The Digha-AIIMSelevated corridor, the completion of which is delayed by nine months now, is expected to be thrown open for vehicular movement by December.

    The construction of 12.27km two-lane semi-elevated and four- lane elevated highway began in November 2013 and was targeted to end by September 16, 2017. The Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited (BSRDCL), an executing agency of the road construction department, had given the contract for this Rs 1,231-crore project to Gammon India Pvt Ltd.

    The elevated structure starts from NH-98 near AIIMS to terminate at Digha rail-cum-road bridge at the junction of Ganga Path.

    According to a BSRDCL official, 86% of the work has been completed. He attributed the delay in completion of the project to land acquisition issues. “A private body was claiming to own a part of the land at Digha, where the elevation is supposed to descend. The case is pending in the Patna high, and we are expecting the matter to be resolved in another month,” said the official.

    He also informed this reporter on Thursday that earlier the railways had an issue with the approval of the design of the super structure at Khagaul (Patna-Delhi line), but they partially cleared the project last month. A final clearance is still awaited, however.

    “Once we get the final clearance, it won’t take more than three months to make it fully operational for commuters,” the BSRDCL office said, adding the construction work was also interrupted at Digha due to a high tension wire over the railway tracks.

    A first-of-its-kind project in Patna, the elevated road project will connect the road-deck of Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge on the north-western corner of Patna with AIIMS-Patna at Phulwarisharif. Starting from AIIMS-Patna, the first 2km of the road has two lanes on a semi-elevated structure. Thereafter, the entire stretch is of four lanes.

    The elevated road will prove a boon for commuters coming from north Bihar through Digha-Sonepur bridge. It will also act as a freeway for vehicles between Deedarganj and Digha.

    The elevated corridor will have connectivity with NH-30, NH-9, Ganga Path and NH-19. “It will serve as the best option for people coming from NH-98 junction at AIIMS or from Phuwarisharif, and going to Sonepur. The travel time will be reduced to half,” the official said.

  • Sand, stone-laden vehicles to be banned on Gandhi setu

    PATNA: Vehicles carrying sand and stone aggregates will not be allowed to ply on the dilapidated Mahatma Gandhi Setu on the Ganga. The ban will become effective within a week.

    Such vehicles, mostly trucks and tractors, will now have to go through either newly constructed Ara-Chhapra bridge or Rajendra Setu at Mokama.

    Also, the pontoon bridge under the Mahatma Gandhi Setu will remain open round the clock. As of now, vehicles are allowed to pass through it only from 6am to 6pm.

    These decisions were taken at a meeting convened by chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh on Monday. It was attended by Patna SSP Manu Maharaaj and SPs of Vaishali, Saran and Bhojpur districts.

    Road construction department principal secretary Amrit Lal Meena told TOI it was also decided that heavy vehicles would be allowed to ply on the JP Setu from 10pm to 5am on a pilot basis.

    As of now, heavy vehicles are not allowed on the JP Setu between Digha and Sonepur. Vehicular movement commenced on it on June 11 last year.

    Meena said a DSP and two inspectors each would be deployed for regulating vehicular movement on the Mahatma Gandhi Setu and JP Setu.

    Chief secretary Singh said such measures were to ensure that the ongoing rehabilitation work on the Mahatma Gandhi Setu was not affected.

    The superstructure of 35-year-old Mahatma Gandhi Setu is being demolished and triangular steel girders are proposed be erected under the rehabilitation work.

    Bhumi pujan of four-lane road

    Union minister Ashwini Choubey and state road construction minister Nand Kishor Yadav presided over the bhumi pujan ceremony of four-laning of Bhojpur- Buxar section of Patna-Buxar NH- 84, at Buxar on Monday.

    “PM Narendra Modi laid the stone of Patna- Buxar NH- 84 in August 2015. Work on its Patna-Koelwar and Koelwar-Buxar stretches is underway, while the bhumi pujan for Bhojpur- Buxar stretch was held on Monday,” Nand Kishor said.

    Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/sand-stone-laden-vehicles-to-be-banned-on-gandhi-setu/articleshow/64164423.cms

  • Dumping of drainage silt on roads hits commuters TNN | Updated: May 16, 2018, 07:49 IST
    Representative image

    PATNA: The ongoing drainage cleaning work is causing inconvenience to the residents of several localities as the silt taken out from the drains has been dumped on the roads and left unattended by the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials.

    Those driving their vehicles either attempt to squeeze into the cleaner space left on the road or divert their routes. Stench, lack of space for pedestrians, unhygienic surrounding and long traffic jams cause inconvenience to locals.

    Local commuters pointed out that traffic issues have increased due to the ongoing drainage cleaning works. “We get stuck in traffic jams and battle the stench around since silt occupies major portion of the road,” said Vaishali Rai, who commutes through Mandiri Nala road, which has heaps of garbage all through. She said the authorities concerned are doing nothing to remove the silt taken out from the Mandiri drain around a week back.

    PMC deputy municipal commissioner Vishal Anand said, “The silt taken out from the drains is in semi-liquid state. In order to smoothen its transport, we wait for around 48-72 hours for the semi-liquid waste to completely dry, depending on the amount of silt. Strict instructions have been given to all the assigned officers for removing the silt within the given time period. If any officer fails to do so, he will be liable for departmental investigation and actions.”

    Anand said the area-wise drainage cleaning work began in the first week of April and is expected to get over by June 15. “The deadline will not be extended any further,” he added.

    The desilting of drainage is an annual exercise conducted by PMC ahead of monsoon season to ensure that rainwater flows smoothly down the drains during rainy season.

    “Pedestrians face the major problem as they can barely walk on the roads half occupied by the silt and the rest congested by the vehicles,” said Abhinav Kumar of Ashiana Nagar.

  • Construction of boundary wall at Bihta airbase to start in July Faryal Rumi| TNN | May 16, 2018, 02:00 IST
    PATNA: The construction of boundary walls around the Bihta airbase would start in July as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has given its nod to Jayaprakash Narayan International (JPNI) Airport, Patna, JPNI director Rajender Singh Lahauria said on Tuesday. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for that is likely to be signed between the state government and AAI in a week or two. The state building construction department will construct the walls. “We will prepare the draft of MOU with certain terms and conditions with the consent of both the parties,” Lahauria said.

    Patna district administration has acquired 126 acre land, out of which 108 acre had been handed over to AAI in March for developing a civil enclave with other utility buildings to operate commercial flights. The state government would develop amenities like a guesthouse for VIPs, a hotel and a hangar on the remaining 18 acre land. The AAI planned to ready the first block of the proposed civil enclave by mid- 2019.

    Lahauria said the AAI hasn’t yet decided any specific model for the Bihta civil enclave. But it will be a two-storey terminal building equipped with modern aviation facilities. The ground floor will be used for arrival and the first floor for departure of flyers. It would also have around 14-15 aircraft parking bays. “The airport office will be constructed in the basement with enough parking space of two-wheelers and four-wheelers,” he said.

    He said the construction work on both the Bihta civil enclave and the new terminal building at Patna airport would start simultaneously. “Our focus is to develop the Patna airport first and the construction work is likely to begin in the next four months,” Lahauria said.

    Sources said while bigger airplanes and probably international flights would be operated from Bihta, domestic flights with small aircraft would operate from Patna.

  • 9 cities to get sound meters Ayesha Hassan| TNN | May 16, 2018, 01:00 IST

    PATNA: The Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) will soon install permanent sound level meters in nine cities across the state to monitor noise pollution. Patna already has five such meters at various locations.

    A sound level meter is an instrument used to assess noise or sound levels by measuring sound pressure.

    “The pollution control board has planned to expand the network of sound meters to cover nine more cities in the state that have divisional headquarters or other cities that have urban local bodies such as municipal corporations,” BSPCB scientist S N Jaiswal told this reporter on Tuesday.

    Experts are of the opinion that three-wheelers are one of the main reasons for noise pollution in Patna. “Other reasons include constant honking by motorists, use of generator sets and construction activities without barriers,” BSPCB chairman Ashok Kumar Ghosh said.

    According to Ghosh, plants can greatly reduce unwanted noise. Thick, fleshy leaves, stems, branches and wood effectively absorb sound.

    The BSPCB chairman cited an example to curb noise pollution in a Patna City area. “Residents of a neighbourhood in Patna City complained that a group of traders building almirahs had been causing a lot of trouble to them due to the constant noise. They refused to relocate claiming that they had been operating at the location prior to the residential area came up. So, we soundproofed their area of work utilizing straw and sandbags,” he said.


  • State transfers 3 power plants to NTPC on lease for 30 years

    PATNA: The state government on Tuesday handed over three of its power generation plants to National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd on 30-year lease. The plants are Barauni Thermal Power Station (BTPS), Kanti Bijli Utpadan Nigam Limited (KBUNL) and Nabinagar Power Generating Company Limited (NPGCL).

    A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Bihar State Power Generation Company Ltd managing director R Lakshmanan and NTPC director (commercial) A K Gupta in the presence of chief minister Nitish Kumar and Union minister of state for power R K Singh. NTPC CMD Gurdeep Singh was also present. The state cabinet on April 17 had approved the transfer of the three plants to NTPC.

    Energy department principal secretary Pratyaya Amrit said the transfer of the three plants would save the state Rs875.06 crore annually and the amount would be used in providing cheaper and uninterrupted power to the people.

    “Being the biggest power generation company, NTPC is capable of efficiently operating the three coal-based thermal power plants. Besides, coal will be available to these plants at cheaper rates as NTPC gets subsidy on coal procurement for its plants. Also, loans at cheaper interest rates from market are available to NTPC, which will again financially benefit the operation of these plants,” Pratyaya explained.

    BTPS has two functional units (6 and 7) with 110MW capacity each while its two extension units (8 and 9) having the capacity of 250MW each are likely to be made functional soon. Bihar gets 100% electricity produced from all BTPS plants.

    Similarly, KBUNL has two functional units (1 and 2) with 110MW capacity each while its two extension units (3 and 4) having 195MW capacity each are to start commercial production soon. Bihar gets 100% electricity produced from the existing units and to get 75% from the two extension units.

    NPGCL, on the other hand, has three functional units having 660MW capacity each. Bihar gets 78% of the electricity produced from this plant while the remaining 22% goes to other states.

    Elaborating on the financial benefits of the lease, Lakshmanan said: “The rate at which the state government buys electricity from these plants for supplying to different categories of consumers will reduce substantially with lower cost of production. Accordingly, the state will be able to save Rs684.07 crore per year on procuring electricity from the four BTPS units, Rs54.69 crore from the KBUNL units and Rs136.30 crore from the NPGCL. This will ultimately reflect in cheaper power availability for different categories of consumers.”

    Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/state-transfers-3-power-plants-to-ntpc-on-lease-for-30-years/articleshow/64180512.cms

  • Civic body steps in to spray water on roads TNN | May 17, 2018, 02:00 IST
    PATNA: The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has started spraying water through tankers on city streets at night and in the early morning hours since last week in order to curb air pollution.

    Water spraying on roads is part of the action plan of the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) released last week. Dust particles have been found to be one of the biggest reasons for air pollution in Patna which was recently declared the fifth most polluted city by the World Health Organisation.

    “The drive will be conducted in all four circles of the PMC — New capital, Patna City, Kankerbagh and Bankipore. One tanker with a capacity of carrying around 5,000 litres of water is being used in areas like Nala Road, Rajendra Nagar overbridge and Bailey Road,” municipal secretary Abdul Hamid said on Wednesday.

    According to Patna mayor Sita Sahu, the civic body will soon procure mechanical sweeping machines to curb air pollution. “We are spraying water on roads as a temporary measure to curb air pollution due to dust particles. We are planning to procure six mechanical sweeping machines that will ensure systematic cleaning of roads,” she said.

    Explaining how the sweeping machines work, municipal commissioner Keshav Ranjan Prasad told this reporter, “The diesel-operated machines with inbuilt water carriers will spray water and sweep roads easily. The small lanes and congested areas of the city will, however, be cleaned manually.”

    The water spraying drive is likely to continue for another month.

  • Work on airport’s new terminal building to begin from October Faryal Rumi| TNN | May 17, 2018, 02:00 IST
    PATNA: The Jayaprakash Narayan International (JPNI) Airport authorities are taking several temporary measures to address the issue of space constraint till the new terminal building comes up. Work on the building will begin from October this year.

    In an interactive session with the officials of Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the Bihar Industries Association in Patna on Wednesday, Lahauria JPNI director Rajender Singh Lahauria discussed the challenges and the ongoing development works to manage the passengers’ flow for the next three years.

    “The Patna airport’s terminal building is very old and was originally designed to handle 7 lakh passengers per year. However, it is handling passengers more than three times its capacity. We have proposed several facilities for improving services and flight operations,” Lahauria said and added the airport, which had four parking bays for departure and arrival of flights every day, would soon have two more.

    In terms of flyer growth, the Patna airport has ranked 12th among other airports in India in the 2017-18 fiscal. As per the economy survey of Bihar for the 2017-18 fiscal, the number of passengers flying from the airport increased from 1.76 lakh in 2004-05 to 21.12 lakh in 2016-17.

    Deliberating on the steps being taken for decongesting the existing terminal building, Lahauria said, “A temporary pre-fabricated structure with a seating capacity of 200 passengers has been erected in front of the terminal building. The work for the expansion of security hold area on the first floor is also in the process,” explained Lahauria with the help of a live demonstration on the proposal for the development plan.

  • Land hunt begins for stadium in Gaya Abdul Qadir| TNN | May 17, 2018, 01:00 IST
    GAYA: Land hunt for a 25 acre plot has begun for construction of a mega state-of-the-art stadium with synthetic turf and other facilities in Gaya. The stadium is estimated to cost about Rs100 crore.

    District magistrate Abhishek Singh said the land was the only issue for the stadium. “Once a suitable plot of land is available, the government will provide funds for the multi-purpose stadium,” said the DM.

    Virtually ruling out stadium construction near the Central University of South Bihar (CUSB) premises on Panchanpur village, the DM said the place is too far from Gaya town and as such the very purpose of its establishment will be defeated.

    “The purpose is to promote sports culture, provide international standard facilities to sports persons for training and skill development and make the place capable of hosting sport events of national and international standard,” the DM said.

    Locals said that Panchanpur used to have a large air strip developed during the Second World War. The 800 acre area stood abandoned since the end of the world war. Old timers recall that refugees from erstwhile east Pakistan (present Bangladesh) were accommodated in makeshift tents erected on the land in 1971. The defence ministry which owns the land transferred 300 acres for establishment of Central University of South Bihar (CUSB). The remaining 500 acres is slated to be available for public use.

    Asked about the availability of land in Bhusunda on the eastern outskirts of Gaya town, the DM said enough land was not available there.

  • Anti-encroachment drive in Gaya soon TNN | May 17, 2018, 01:00 IST
    GAYA: The Gaya district administration and police will soon launch an extensive anti-encroachment drive to regulate traffic and end the unending snarls in Gaya town.

    Gaya Sadar SDO Suraj Kumar Sinha informed that the drive will begin this weekend. In the initial stage, the drive will be launched on GB Road, KP Road, Dak Bungalow Road, Ramna Road and Swarajpuri Road among several other areas. “We have also received complaints of extortion from vendors. Shop owners levy charges on vendors for allowing them to do business on footpath in front of their respective establishments,” said SDO Sinha.

    As per the recent report submitted by the SDO to Gaya district magistrate suggesting a new traffic plan, more roads would be brought under one-way mode. As of now, one way rules are applied only on GB Road and Ramna Road. Here too, the implementation has been slow and violations are common.

    Sources said there is shortage of trained traffic personnel and deployment of homeguard jawans for traffic control.