Ganga Path Project stalled

Bihar government extended the request date for proposal till Sep 14

The much-hyped 21.5 km-long Ganga Path project seems to have hit a roadblock, as not a single bidder turned up in the state capital, thereby forcing the Bihar government to extend the date of request for proposal, commonly called financial bid, till September 14.

Touted as Mumbai’s Marine Drive along the Ganga with four-lane wide roads, the proposed expressway connecting Digha to Deedarganj is estimated to cost Rs 2,334.46 crore.

A brainchild of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the swanky corridor on south of the riverside is supposed to not only ease traffic in Patna, but also reduce congestion on the National Highway as heavy vehicles coming from the east and plying to Uttar Pradesh and other north Indian states need not venture into the capital area.

But with six short-listed infrastructure giants including Simplex, Welspun, Nagarjuna Construction and Reliance Infrastructure, reporting no-show, the Bihar government has now decided to draw on the reserve bids and keep out the short-listed bidders.The prestigious project, taken up on public private partnership (PPP) mode, is coming up on 261 hectares (approx) on the banks of Ganga. Recently, the Nitish Cabinet gave its nod to transfer 230 hectares of government land to the Road Construction Department, which is to be given to the concessionaire for the mega project. One of the preconditions of the PPP project was to make 80 per cent of the land available to the concessionaire.

The entire 21.5 km-long Ganga Path has been categorised into three zones – Digha to Gandhi Maidan (5.9 km), Gandhi Maidan to Mahatma Gandhi Setu (7.6 km) and MG Setu to Deedarganj (8 km). While the first and third zone will come up on land, the second corridor stretching from Gandhi Maidan to Mahatma Gandhi Setu is supposed to be constructed along the edge of the Ganga river.Notwithstanding the fact that bidders failed to turn up for the ambitious project, Bihar’s Road Construction Minister Nand Kishore Yadav is quite hopeful that the Ganga Path venture will kick-start soon.

“Options will now be explored through reserve bids. We have three firms which are interested in the project, but had to initially keep them out because of certain guidelines issued by the Planning Commission,” the minister said.

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