The project will construct a new road bridge (the new Ganga Bridge) across the Ganges River and an integrated approach roadway network in the state of Bihar. It will improve transport connectivity between north and south Bihar, which is divided by the Ganges River, and better link Patna, the state capital city, and the surrounding areas. The main bridge structure of about 9.8 kilometers (km) is expected to become the longest river bridge in India. It will have a transformational impact by promoting the geographical integration of Bihar, and help balance the social economic development. In the regional context, it is strategically located near India''s neighboring country of Nepal, and will enhance the existing road corridors between the two countries. This will lead to greater physical cross-border connectivity, which is supported by the Regional Cooperation and Integration Strategy of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
PROJECT RATIONALE AND LINKAGE TO COUNTRY/REGIONAL STRATEGY
The problem of low per capita income in Bihar is accentuated by the physical north- south divide. In 2012, district-wise per capita gross domestic product was on average 40% higher among districts in the south. Among the 38 districts of the state, 7 of the 10 most prosperous districts were in the south, while 7 of the 10 poorest districts were in the north. This disparity is clearly attributed to the Ganges River and its enormous scale, which makes providing connectivity between north and south Bihar a very difficult task. Currently, along the entire length of the Ganges River in Bihar (approximately 200 km), only four bridges are operational, and the combined capacity is far too limited to meet traffic demand. This not only constrains connectivity but also overall socioeconomic development.
Four new bridges are under construction at critical locations to help remove the growing constraint on connectivity. Moreover, the proposed project will construct a new Ganga Bridge, located about 10 km downstream and east of Patna. The main objective is to provide badly needed additional capacity, and improve connectivity for Patna and the surrounding areas. This includes the Raghopur Diara river island, which is situated and cut off in between two channels of the Ganges River. Its 250,000 inhabitants now have only a seasonal link (pontoon bridge) connecting it to Patna, apart from boats. The new Ganga Bridge will span the entire width of the Ganges River, including the two channels, with access ramps to the Raghopur Diara river island, and connect to nearby national highways along the north and south banks of the Ganges River. It will also serve as an alternative to the existing Ganga Bridge (also called Mahatma Gandhi Bridge), which currently is the main link between Patna and north Bihar. The old bridge is deteriorating and has insufficient capacity, which causes severe traffic congestion.
The new Ganga Bridge, together with the other bridges already under construction, will provide the required transport capacity between north and south Bihar, and significantly improve connectivity. It will substantially reduce the travel time to Patna from the surrounding regions, in particular north Bihar, which will ease access to the state''s administrative and social services, and health and higher education facilities. The inhabitants of the Raghopur Diara river island will gain year-round road access, allowing children access to higher-level schooling and women better access to pre- and postnatal health care. It will help balance the benefits of developments in agriculture, tourism, and industrial sectors, and contribute to achieving the priority goal of the Government of Bihar to connect Patna to the remotest areas in the state, so that people can reach the capital in no more than 6 hours from any place within the state.
The Government of Bihar has stepped up investments in the development of quality infrastructure. Since 2008, ADB has provided three loans totaling $1.02 billion to upgrade 1,466 km of state highways in north and south Bihar, linking rural areas to national highways. With these collectively, the new Ganga Bridge will improve mobility and accessibility between north and south Bihar, and is critical to ensuring that the overall development impact is optimized and its benefits are fully reaped. The new bridge is integral to the vision and action plan of the Road Master Plan for Bihar's State Highways Development, a 20-year strategy (2015 -2035) prepared with ADB assistance to direct further investment into fostering overall economic development in the state.
Mobility and accessibility within India, and connectivity with its neighboring countries improved
All consultants will be recruited in accordance with ADB''s Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2013, as amended from time to time).
All procurement of goods and works will be undertaken in accordance with ADB''s Procurement Guidelines (2015, as amended from time to time).
ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM OF ADB
The Accountability Mechanism is an independent complaint mechanism and fact-finding body for people who believe they are likely to be, or have been, adversely affected by an Asian Development Bank-financed project. If you submit a complaint to the Accountability Mechanism, they may investigate to assess whether the Asian Development Bank is following its own policies and procedures for preventing harm to people or the environment. You can learn more about the Accountability Mechanism and how to file a complaint at: http://www.adb.org/site/accountability-mechanism/main
Responsible ADB Officer Yeo, Kai Wei
Responsible ADB Department South Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Transport and Communications Division, SARD
Bihar State Road Development Corporation Ltd.
RCD Mechanical Workshop Campus (Near Patna Airport), Sheikhpura
Patna-800014, Bihar, India