Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar’s statement at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday that there would be no Metro Rail in Patna at the cost of disturbing the heritage sites has evoked sharp reaction among people.
Nitish had said some technique has to be evolved to ensure that underground tracks won’t affect the historical value of the city.
Officials as well as technical experts engaged in the Metro project are in a fix over the fate of this project which was cleared by Nitish himself in December last year. “Who will identify the heritage sites beneath the surface stretching from Danapur cantonment to Mithapur Bypass? If we start digging it from today, it will take months together to identify such heritage sites. In that case, no development work can be done in Patna,” a senior government official said on the condition of maintaining anonymity.
But ancient Indian history professor at Visva-Bharati, Anil Kumar was forthright when he said: “I feel developmental activities should not stop. Priority should be given to protect the heritage, particularly if that has potential to attract tourists and scholars. Otherwise, the best way is, I feel, what has happened in Kanpur where the site was excavated, assessed and then covered, over which a road was constructed.” While constructing the Lucknow-Kanpur highway recently, a neolithic site was first excavated, documented, photographed before constructing the road, Kumar said.
Nitish had approved the long awaited Patna Metro Rail Project’s proposal on December 23 while directing that it be sent for the central government’s clearance. The project awaits state cabinet approval.
The Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) last year submitted its detailed project report (DPR) to Bihar government, reducing the project estimates to Rs12,000 crore from Rs17,000 crore earlier. A corporation on the lines of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is supposed to be formed for monitoring the construction of the project in Patna.
The 27.88km Metro Rail Project from Danapur to Mithapur (east-west corridor) and from Patna Junction to ISBT (north-south corridor) will have an underground stretch of over 15km and elevated stretch of over 12km. The DPR proposes three-coach Metro run from 5am to midnight with the fare being anything between Rs12 and Rs28 in the initial years.