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Building New Infrastructure in Bihar

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Chanchal Kumar
Secretary, Building Construction Department, and Art,
Culture & Youth Department, Government of Bihar

“The improved road connectivity to remotest villages in Bihar has enabled the rural population to access government benefits more easily,” says Chanchal Kumar. In conversation with Mohd Ujaley

You have been in Chief Minister’s office from 2005 to August 2012. What kind of transformation has Bihar seen during the last few years?
The state government has taken many new initiatives for improving law and order. The improvement in law and order has given confidence to the common man; it has also enabled a series of new investments to come in the IT sector and other sectors. There has been substantial improvement in education and healthcare. The infrastructure sector, like roads and electricity, there has been significant advances. The vision was to connect all the villages with population of up to one thousand, but now the State Government has gone a step ahead and is now connecting habitations of up to 250 to 500 also. The improved road connectivity to remotest villages in Bihar has enabled the rural population to access government benefits more easily. The agriculture produce can be brought to the market efficiently because the transaction cost is decreased. More than 2.11 lakh teachers have been appointed to improve the quality of education in rural areas. Many new hospitals have been built to provide free and subsidized room to the citizens. The quality of life in all parts of Bihar has become much better as a result of these initiatives.

Please tell us about the work that you are doing in the Building Department?
Before the year 1982, Road Construction, Building Construction and Rural Engineering Organisation were all under the Public Works Department (PWD). In the administrative view, Public Works Department was split into three different departments named: Road Construction Dept., Building Construction Dept. and Rural Engineering Organisation Department by the Cabinet Secretariat and Co-ordination Department’s. Our main objective is to plan and design building network to provide optimised connectivity to residential and non-residential government buildings of different departments. We also take care of construction, renovation, upgradation and maintenance of residential and nonresidential government buildings of different departments. We try our best to complete every construction project on time. Many new projects have been started, like construction and expansion of legislative assembly and secretariat building. These projects are progressing as per the schedule. The work for creating the Bihar Museum has already been started and the project is expected to be completed in near future. Please provide us an overview of the e-Niwas Yojana. The e-Niwas yojana was started with the objective of bringing transparency in the allotment of houses government employees and ministers. We are getting reports that many of the places are under illegal occupation by people. So we thought that we should have a computer based system that can keep track of all the vacant lodiging places, and people will be allowed to make bookings online. Through this process we have already allocated new houses to many deserving citizens. The home page located at – http://eniwas.bih.nic.in/ is fairly simple to understand. Frequent inspection, training, proper utilization of human resources, and inspire the officials with great sense of enthusiasm, connecting and visualizing for multiple latest techniques are the basic instinct for development of our organization. Problems and grievances of staff are being addressed through efficient and scientific manner.

You have worked in many different departments in Bihar government for many years. What are the main challenges that you see in the State?
If there are challenges in Bihar, there are also the opportunities. It is the job of an administrator to turn a potential challenge, into a potential opportunity. This is already happening in Bihar. We have brought many reforms in critical sectors like education, healthcare, social welfare, infrastructure, etc. The condition of roads is much better. The urban local bodies have become more efficient and now a concerted effort is being made to bring IT to all parts of the state. When I go to villages, I often ask the villagers – I ask them how much electricity they are getting. The usual response is 17hrs, 19hrs sometimes 20hrs of electricity per day. Of course, we would like electricity to be available 24 hours a day, but even if electricity is there 17 hrs to 20 hrs, it is an achievement.

You are also looking after youth and culture department. Please tell us about the work being done by this department?
Today majority of the citizens in the country are youth and it is important that we tape the energy of our young population by giving them good jobs where they can apply their talent and take the country forward. But good jobs can only be available when the youth have good working skills. The State Government has started a programme for skill development. The department is working in a planned manner to provide basic facilities and training for the youth of Bihar. My view is that the 21st Century belongs to the young generation. About 70 percent of the total population is of the age group ranging between 15 to 30 years. Today the youth are more conscious about their feature. For the proper channelisation of the energy and vigor of the youth several activities like Sports, NCC, NSS, Scouting and different other activities are very helpful. The directorate organizes sports tournament of various discipline and age groups including NCC, NSS and scouting activities. The Directorate also provides coaching facilities to the talented sports persons in various sports discipline. We are also making efforts to encourage and promote study and research in the fields of Music, Dance, Drama, Painting and other fine arts and applied arts.

“e-Niwas Yojana is Bringing Transparency in the Allotment  of Houses to Government Employees and Ministers”

While renovating old buildings how do you ensure that heritage and legacy of the building design is safeguarded?
The heritage and legacy of the building design are being taken care through efficient and skilled engineers, architects, interior designer etc. Their strategic, integrated approach will consolidate to manage their plans and maintaining standard of good governance and welfare state’s duty of care and affirmative result, reduce exorbitant cost of establishment. Authorities have to demonstrate through implantation of their prescribed task within stipulated period and to do and work for the betterment of the Corporation. In addition, the establishment of fair values of assets in accordance with high accounting standards has become an intrinsic part of recognizing the commitment that can sustain the financial viability to the authorities. Frequent inspection, training, proper utilization of human resources, and inspire the officials with great sense of enthusiasm, connecting and visualizing for multiple latest techniques are the basic instinct for development of our organization. Problems and grievances of staff/officials are being addressed through efficient and scientific manner..

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