How one dept is changing Bihar's face vertically

A poor performer till recently, Bihar’s construction department is on a high these days, raising ‘world-class’ structures while keeping a watch on the deadline


Pankaj Kumar | October 10, 2013

The building spree is part of chief minister Nitish Kumar`s grand development scheme.
The building spree is part of chief minister Nitish Kumar`s grand development scheme.

This is the story of a government department that has seen a 360-degree turn in just over a year. Known as a poor and lackadaisical performer for years, Bihar’s building construction department is on a building spree these days.

While work has begun on most projects, the department has been given a deadline to wrap up work on each. A lowdown on the top projects that are set to install some world-class structures in Bihar to get a picture of change in a state classified as the second least developed state (after Odisha) in a recent report released by a committee headed by Raghuram Rajan to identify criteria to determine a state’s relative backwardness:

1 The building construction department and the department of art, culture and youth (DACY) are developing a museum of “international standard” that will highlight the state’s heritage and legacy. The proposed museum has been designed by globally reputed architects’ firm Maki & Associates of Japan.

According to details, the project is set to be raised on 25,000 square metres (sq m) and has been planned with proper attention to the needs of visitors, especially schoolchildren, and would have recreational facilities besides multiple galleries to attract both domestic and international tourists.

“We have to complete this museum before March 15, 2015 since the chief minister would inaugurate it that day. We have allocated adequate budget and we have to meet the target by all means,” principal secretary, building construction department, Chanchal Kumar, who took charge in August last year and is credited with the department’s turnaround, told Governance Now.

Anil Kumar, an architect of the department, said the government has allocated Rs 400 crore for the museum project.

2 Another big project the department is handling is the construction of a convention hall. With the state crying desperately for such a venue to organise key events, and in the event ease the burden on SK Memorial Hall (till now the biggest such hall in the state capital with a capacity to accommodate 1,500 people), Chanchal Kumar said the government has earmarked Rs 300 crore to build an international convention centre in Patna.

The proposed centre, which would have a capacity to accommodate 5,000 people, has been allocated 12 acres of land near Gandhi Maidan and has to be built within 24 months after getting statutory approvals. The venue would host conferences, meetings and other cultural performances and will have facilities for adequate parking, souvenir shops, ATMs, currency exchange counters for foreign visitors, food courts and recreation landscaped areas.

“The budget has already been sanctioned and only statutory approval is awaited, which we are hoping to get soon” Kumar said.

3 Another important project is the a housing scheme for MLAs and MLCs to provide comfortable and modern housing facilities to members of Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad. A 60.79-acre plot has been allocated  on the western side of Bir Chand Patel Marg for the project, which is under way. Scheduled for completion in 24 months, it would have 325 bungalows, two 50-bed and 30-bed hostels and other ancillary buildings to house a club, a shopping centre, school and hospital. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 307.7 crore and will have GRIHA rating for green building.

The idea, officials said, is to ensure that MLAs and MLCs get all facilities inside one campus. The chief minister and his cabinet colleagues would have their accommodation outside the campus.

4 With a completion deadline of 24 months, construction of Niyojan Bhawan is another big project that recently got under way. Once completed, all government offices and tribunal will be relocated to this building. With 2.46 acres allocated for the project, the built-up area  of the building would be 23,000 sq m and the estimated cost has been pegged at Rs 93 crore.

Being built with unique horseshoe-shaped arches and huge domes, Niyojan Bhawan would also have pedestrian- and disabled-friendly approaches and is being designed as an earthquake-resistant structure.

5 Another prestigious project the department is undertaking is extending the Vidhan Sabha as well as Secretariat buildings in Patna. Allocated Rs 178 crore for the project, the Vidhan Mandal building would be spread over 2,78,042 sq feet and four secretariat blocks of 2,99,688 sq ft area (in total). Of the four, one block is ready while the others are in completion stage. The whole project is scheduled to be completed in six months.

As per details, the Vidhan Sabha building will have a convention centre with a seating capacity of 550 and three conference halls – with capacity of 400, 200, 100 persons, respectively. Among other facilities the assembly building will have a big library, 20 committee rooms, chambers for committees, ministers and party leaders. At present, there is no room for the committee as well as its chairman.

6 Among other projects under way are the administrative training institute in Gaya, being built for approximately Rs 50 crore, and judicial training institute in Patna, designated as per mandated requirements of modern judicial training.

7 The police headquarters and polytechnic college in Supaul is another important assignment in the building construction department’s kitty.
The proposed police headquarter complex will house senior officers along with other necessary infrastructure such as a wireless office, emergency command centre, disaster management centre, forensic laboratory, recruitment directorate and other departments and directorates. The project cost has been estimated at nearly Rs 7 crore.

According to officials, the department’s stature rose after it successfully completed construction of the Gandhi statue at Gandhi Maidan in Patna, a fancy hotel in Bodhgaya and Adhiveshan Bhawan in Patna (capacity to seat 350 people).

“We have completed several projects over the last one and half years and now reputed contractors have shown interest. We are confident that we will meet the target and build world-class buildings,” Chanchal Kumar said.



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