15 new state highways with assistance of ADB in Bihar:Minister

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Patna, Mar 14 (UNI) Amid a noisy walkout by the Opposition, Bihar government today announced in state legislative council that 15 new State Highways(SH) would be constructed with assistance of Asian Development Bank(ADB) during 2008-09 financial year.

Replying to a special debate on budgetry demand of Rs 2,315 Crores 68 lakh 40 thousands of his department, Road Construction Minister Nand Kishore Yadav said the state government was committed to accelerating the pace of road construction in Bihar and fund constraints would not be allowed to hinder the process.

''The national average of road in the area covering one lakh population is 256.70 Kms, while Bihar is lagging way behind at 90.10 Kms,'' Mr Yadav said adding only 50.80 Kms existed in the state in an average area of per hundred square kilometer while national figure in this regard was 75 Kms.

''Responsibility of construction and repairing of National Highways(NH) lies with the Centre but UPA government was insensitive in releasing the funds for maintenance of National Highways crossing through Bihar,'' he said and added it was crystal clear from the fact that Centre had released only Rs 436 crores during the last six years in this regard while Nitish Kumar government had released Rs 461.22 crores during the last two years under the same head after coming to power in November 2005.

Mr Yadav said the erstwhile Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had initiated mega Golden Quadrilateral Project to connect Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata with four-lane quality road but construction work of 255 KM road falling in Bihar under the project was far from satisfactory due to the UPA government's ''apathetic attitude''.

Identifying the bitumen crisis as one of the main reasons behind slow pace of road construction in Bihar, he referred the letter written by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) regarding non- supply of bitumen and the outlets for bitumen going dry in the peak season.He said the IOC authorioties in their letter mentioned that the Western railway and the railway headquarters was not providing the racks for transportation of the same.

Dissatisfied with the reply of the minister, the entire Opposition walked out of the House. Later the House passed the budgetry demand of the road construction department.

UNI KKS KK RL GC1919

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