Planning for Long Term

By GovernanceToday
In Issue 6
March 5, 2015
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Envisioning Bihar’s Infrastructure in 2047

patnaWe are a heritage nation with about hundred and twenty five crores people of different religions and castes residing peacefully  n harmony with each other and with nature. We have one of the oldest culture and civilization in the world. In ancient times, we were considered Vishwa-Guru (world’s tutor) and our intellect of the time is reflected in classic texts on religion, science, astronomy and literature. Today we have an opportunity to reclaim our glorious status and we must not squander it away. Bihar has a land of diverse and proud history. It has been endowed with a great history enriched by personalities such as Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavir, Kautilya, Guru Govind Singh, Emperors Ashok and Chandragupta, Scientists like Charak and Aryabhatta, literary giants such as Maitreyee and Vidyapati, and political luminaries of the stature of Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Jay Prakash Narayan. Today, Bihar stands at a tipping point from where it can emerge as a frontline state with high economic growth and good governance.

Envisioning Infrastructure For Next Generation
Affordable, cost effective, sustainable habitation for rural and urban masses, the state master plan, building bye-laws, nature of
land use, FAR norms, drainage and sewerage system and water supply, municipal waste management and slum renovation for urban areas are the cornerstone of very long term infrastructure planning. The main challenges for this are increasing population, massive urban migration and global warming. In wake of these challenges, long term planning would require greater skills for sustainable and inclusive development along with high-end execution capability backed by modern, safe and disaster resilient technology.

Vision for 100th year of independence (BUILDCON – 2047) envisions happy, prosperous and integral human life coexisting with
animals, plants, flora and fauna. Public Private Partnership mode in infrastructure development, land use planning, transport & telecommunication system, health care and education need to be adopted to achieve goals defined under this vision. The major focus should be given on systematic utilization of natural resources i.e. land, water and agro climate, the state’s rich cultural heritage, young demographic profile and high level of entrepreneurial capabilities of people to improve the state’s economic status. To ensure inclusive growth, emphasis should be given to eco-friendly habitation, sustainable health and educational infrastructure and intelligent exploitation of ICT. Providing a poverty free, flood free and draught-free state which is characterized by full literacy, healthy and skilled labor force, high standard of science and technology education and thriving art and culture scene are part of our BUILDCON vision 2047.

Among major business sectors that would go in creating the economic base for achieving the above mentioned aim are agriculture and food processing , power generation, health and education, farm based industrialization and tourism. Several North Bihar novelties such as betel, fish, Lychee Litchi chinensis), Mithila painting and Bhagalpur silk offer unique business opportunities which can be well exploited to improve the lives of a large number of people. The ultimate objective is to make Bihar a prosperous and sustainably growing state.

Buildcon: The Vision for 2047
BUILDCON Vision-2047 is a milestone in the path of the sustainable and inclusive development for humans and nature in the state. India has about 17 per cent of world’s population with just 4 per cent water and only 2 per cent of global land mass. This imbalance presents unique challenges to planners, engineers and policy makers. As far as the state of Bihar is concerned, it is a heritage state with about 11 per cent of country’s population which is highly diverse in it culture, tradition and lifestyles. In  patch of achieving goals of the vision 2047, challenges exist in form of increasing population, global warming, low agri-productivity and food scarcity. Needless to say, an innovative approach is required to tackle these challenges.

From infrastructure point of view, urban master plan, building bylaws, land use, FAR, sewerage system, water supply management, municipal waste management and slum renovation are crucial aspects on which detailed planning is required. On
top of it all, these objectives are to be met with shrinking resources and potentially changing climates.

Resurgent Bihar
The state needs to focus on economic development along with innovative institutional engineering to achieve effective governance at all administrative levels. Bottom to top developmental planning has to be the key element of development strategy which would enable best practices at all levels to get optimal exposure and emulation at relevant points. Considering the resource endowment in North Bihar, a special economic & habitat zone can be developed which would focus on the  effective flood control, smart water and land management and exploitation of great potential in agriculture and food processing sectors along with tourism.

madhubani-paintingThe state should effectively and execution of infrastructure projects, especially in transportation and power generation, which would infuse private sector efficiency and money in public assets. This would also reduce the gap between urban and rural infrastructure which is a must for overall development of the  state. Simultaneously, these would facilitate faster industrial growth. Encouraging private participation in education and skill development areas would also result in improving human resource which would be sorely required in rapid economic development.

Bihar’s development vision for 2047 warrants serious consideration on innovative governance with skills development and inclusive growth in built environment. If executed properly, Bihar could emerge as one of the developed states of the country, benefitting the people of the state and the country. However, suitable action on multiple fronts such as urbanization, utilization of ICT, optimum utilization of natural and human resources and development of intelligent physical infrastructure etc. would be required to achieve the target. This would finally harness the economic, cultural, social and human potential of the state which has so far gone neglected. The writer is Managing Director, Bihar State Building Construction Corporation Ltd. cum Special Secretary, Building Construction Department, Govt of Bihar, Patna and Addl CEO, Bihar Foundation