Public transport in the state capital will soon get a much-needed boost with the Centre approving the state's plan to operate standard buses instead of the low-floor ones in Patna.
The state urban development department will float the tender to procure 100 buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) by next week. The department, the nodal agency for implementing the JNNURM in Bihar, received the nod from the urban development ministry last Wednesday.
It had requested permission to procure standard buses also for Patna from the ministry as operating low-floor buses was found to be unfeasible in the city.
"Though the JNNURM scheme envisages running low-floor buses under its mission cities, most roads in Patna were not found feasible for running them. Accordingly, the state government had requested the urban development ministry to allow the procurement of standard buses as well. We received the corresponding nod from the ministry four days ago," said a senior officer in the urban development department.
Deliberations on operating standard buses in the capital were conducted at a review meeting held under Sudhir Krishna, secretary, ministry of urban development, on Friday. Krishna, who had visited Patna, was briefed on the feasibility of operating low-floor buses in Patna.
The officer in the urban development department said: "After listening to points raised by senior officers of the department, he (Krishna) approved procurement of standard buses so that the funds sanctioned under this scheme could be utilised at the earliest."
He added: "The urban development department would float tender for procurement of 100 buses for Patna utilising funds of Rs 40 crore within a week. The respective procurement order would be placed in December. It is expected to take another three to four months for the buses to start running."
Of the 100 buses to be procured by the department, some would be low-floor and would be operated at select places in the city, said sources. Krishna has asked the department officers to finalise the route charts where the low-floor buses would be run and send it to the central ministry within a week.