Final DPR for Patna Metro to be submitted by April 15

Patna: The final Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Patna Metro would be submitted by April 15, after the state moves the Centre for execution of the project under PPP mode.

Urban development minister Awadhesh Prasad Kushwaha declared so while replying to a debate in the Assembly on passing the budgetary demand of over Rs 2,169 crore for financial year 2015-16 on Wednesday. The minister said that RITES, an engineering consultancy company specialising in the field of transport infrastructure, was made consultant of the project and the initial estimated cost was Rs 11, 545 crore. He declared that Patna Metro Corporation would be constituted soon and a meeting of investors had already taken place in Patna.

For the first time in the entire budget session, BJP MLAs did not walk out. They, however, took the minister to task for allotting zero amount to the chief minister’s Urban Development Yojana, a scheme started by the Nitish government in 2007-08 for construction of roads, sewerages and parks on legislators’ recommendations.

“Has the government abandoned the scheme because it is neither mentioned in the annual report or the minister’s speech,” asked Leader of the Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav, who dubbed the minister’s speech a “bunch of lies”.

The minister declared that funds would be allocated for the scheme in the supplementary budget. Chief minister Nitish Kumar, who was present in the House, assured Nand Kishore the scheme had not been abandoned. The budgetary demand of the department was passed by voice vote.

Earlier, the House witnessed uproar over a question raised by the RJD’s Abdul Bari Siddiqui on the declining targets under Indira Awaas Yojana, set by the Centre. Both Siddiqui and Congress leader Sadanand Singh suggested that an all-party delegation be sent to the Centre to demand increasing of Indira Awaas quota for Bihar.

Rural works & parliamentary affairs minister Shrawan Kumar said the target had been reduced on the basis of the 2011 census, which did not take cognisance of the fact that a large number of below poverty population lives in thatched houses. He blamed the BJP government at the Centre. This led to several RJD MLAs to enter the Well of the House and raise slogans against the Union government for allegedly discriminating against Bihar.

Nand Kishore ridiculed the demand for an all-party delegation to the Centre. “Your chief minister met the Prime Minister twice. Did he raise this issue before the PM then or did he just return after dinner,” he asked as BJP MLAs entered the Well of the House protesting against the JDU government for hiding its failures on the pretext of blaming the central government.

The Speaker had to adjourn the House amid the pandemonium. Speaking to journalists later, Nand Kishore claimed the decision to slash Indira Awaas quota for Bihar was taken during the UPA government’s term.