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Patna City-02-800 pix

Patna is the capital and also the most populous city of Bihar. It is also the administrative, industrial and educational centre of the state. It is located on the south bank of the river Ganga. It is well connected by railways and roads.A? The history and tradition of Patna date back to the dawn of civilisation. The ancient name of Patna was Pataliputra or Patalipattan and its history starts from as early as 600 B.C. The great emperor, Chandragupta Maurya made it his capital in the 4th century A.D. In recent times Patna developed rapidly in terms of urbanisation and industrialisation. In 2009, a World Bank study ranked Patna ahead of Mumbai and second only to New Delhi in terms of ease of starting a business.

Transport

In the olden days, Patna was one of the first cities in India to use horse-drawn trams for public transportation. Public transportation in the city is presently based on buses, auto rickshaws and local trains. Bihar State Road Transport Corporation (BSRTC) offers a city-based bus service on all major routes of Patna. Last year, radio cab service was also started.

The Patna Junction railway station is well-connected to most of the major cities in India by the railway network. Patna falls in between New Delhi and Kolkata, one of the busiest and important rail routes in India.

The city is a major railway hub and has five major stations namely Patna Junction, Rajendranagar Terminal, Gulzarbagh Station, Danapur Station and Patna Sahib Station. Patna is well connected with Gaya, Jehanabad, Biharsharif, Rajgir, and Islampur through daily passenger and express train services.

If everything goes according to plan, Patnas dream of a metro rail network may come true by 2016. The Planning Commission of India has recently given the nod for the project. The project is set to cover a distance of 40km at a cost of 8, 000 crore. Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) is conducting an extensive survey for the construction of the metro rail in Patna. The government hopes the survey would be completed in four months and the work will start finally in 2014.

Patna airport, also known as Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport, is the 20th busiest airport in India. It is classified as a restricted international airport by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). Due to the massive development work in Bihar, the AAI has planned to open a new international airport in Bihar near Patna.

It is also envisaged for Patna airport toA? be upgraded, as Patna is a base for tourist traffic to the great Buddhist, Jain, Vedic, Islamic and Sikh heritage areas adjacent to the city.

The city is served by several major national and state highways, including National Highways 19, 30, 31 and 83. A luxury bus service between Patna and several neighbouring cities is provided by the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation and the Bihar State Road Transport Corporation.

Patna Metropolitan Planning Committee

The Patna Metropolitan Planning Committee will be established on the model of the national capital region (NCR) of New Delhi, under the Jawaharlal National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) of the Government of India.

The Patna Metropolitan Planning Committee proposes to make Patna a modern, vibrant, beautiful, efficient urban area. The committee will consist of MPs, MLAs, representatives of elected local bodies and some senior government officials, and will prepare detailed plans for development of the urban areas of Patna, Saran and Vaishali districts.

A senior official of the urban development department said the aim is to make the state capital region an economically and environmentally sustainable area. Patna will facilitate the development of the entire state, specially its neighbouring areas like Maner, Fatuha, Sonepur and Hajipur. An integrated plan to develop educational institutions and residential colonies with advanced infrastructure in these areas would be launched to ease pressure on Patna city.

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The government of Bihar recently gave green signal to the plan for the construction of 27,000 flats at seven places in Patna along with Gaya and Muzaffarpur towns with a total cost of 9,275 crore. The flats will be constructed under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

The 16- to 19-storey blocks will consist of two- and three-bedroom flats with almost 70% of land allotted as green area. There will also be commercial complexes, malls and hotels in the multi-storey buildings.

Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat Department, Brajesh Mehrotra said the rental flats, slums and janata flats constructed earlier by the Bihar State Housing Board (BSHB) in areas like Lohianagar sector S, T and U and Hanuman Nagar in Kankarbagh would be demolished and 12,538 new modern flats would soon be constructed in their place.

Water Supply

Bihar Rajya Jal Parshad (BRJP) is in charge of planning and implementation of water supply in Patna. The operation and maintenance of the systems are undertaken by Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) in its jurisdiction and BRJP in other areas. The general public water supply system comprises approximately 98 tube wells that pump water directly to the distribution mains. The distribution system includes almost 23 overhead reservoirs.

The coverage area under water supply is estimated to be over 52%. The city has high dependability on ground water sources. Huge quantity of water is wasted due to leakages in pipelines.

Patna also has 30,000 public water stand posts and approximately 23,000 public hand pumps. The tube wells operate for 15 hours a day and about 65% of them are less than 5 years old.

The gross water supply in the city is around 186 MLD. The projected water demand in 2030 is 688.8 MLD.A? The existing tax on drinking water in Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) area is 33 paisa per kilolitre.

Sewerage and Sanitation

BRJP is responsible for designing, implementing, operating and maintaining the sewerage systems in Patna. The present sewerage system established in 1936 is very old and has badly degraded in several places.

The underground sewerage system is one of the best methods of waste disposal.A? But only 20% of the total households in urban areas of Patna are covered with underground sewerage system, increasing the dependencies on the septic tank and low cost sanitation systems in other 80% of areas in Patna. Around 15% of population in Patna is dependent on the public shared toilets. The city has approximately 3 lakh populations as floating population that depends of public or community toilets.

It is estimated that the town has a sewer length of 27.4 km. The municipal corporation area has only 21 public toilets. The estimated sewage generation in the town in 2011 is 224.6 MLD and this is expected to increase to 551 MLD by 2030. At present the sewerage system is inadequate for a town of Patnas size. This has lead to spillage of toxic waste and collection in low lying areas and water bodies that make the living environment unhygienic to some extent.

Sports Infrastructure

The Bihar government has planned to establish a world class stadium on the outskirts of state capital Patna besides modernising the existing infrastructure of Moinul Haq Stadium with all the facilities required for hosting big international cricket matches.

The plan recently received CM Nitish Kumars green signal at a high-level meeting of the state cabinet. Most possibly taking a signal from Ranchi, where a new stadium was established and a couple of IPL matches were organised last month, Bihar has also planned to attract the multi-billion cricket business with a modern state-of-the-art stadium equipped with facilities of international standard. The newly built Pataliputra Sports Complex will also see further development to make it one of the best indoor stadiums in the country.

Tourism

With more than a million foreign tourists coming to Bihar, the state government has now taken steps to put more focus on developing infrastructure for the hospitality sector. The state government has recently commissioned several projects to develop tourist destinations under Buddhist, Jain and Ramayana circuits.

According to the data of the state Tourism Department, 1.09 million foreign and 22.5 million domestic tourists visited the state in last year.

We are very happy with the increasing numbers of foreign tourists, said Tourism Minister Sunil Kumar Pintoo. It reflects the growing acceptance of Bihar on the world tourism map. Our governments constant efforts on improving law and order and governance are now paying off.

Emphasising that Bihar has treasure trove of all religions, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar recently said there is great scope to develop religious tourism in the state and encouraged industrialists to invest in the sector, particularly in hotel and transport business.

Bihar has many religious and historic traditions which people from across the world wish to see, Kumar said.

Patna is among the worlds oldest capital cities with a history of many centuries as imperial metropolis of the Mauryas and Guptas dynasties. In the past couple of years, a number of guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, bars, and clubs have come up to support the citys new roleacting as a hub for people to explore the new emerging economic opportunities in the region as well as a gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Pawapuri.

For a first time tourist in the city exposure to Dak Bungalow Chowk and Gandhi Maidan is essential. Dak Bungalow Chowk is the centre of business activity in the city. In the vicinity of Dak Bungalow Chowk one can find a large number of hotels, eating places and commercial establishments. The Gandhi Maidan is a historical place and is considered as a landmark of the city.A? The Maidan also plays host to various political rallies, exhibitions andA? fairs from time to time.

There are other places to visit in and around the city. There is the Patna Museum with its exclusive metal and stone sculptures from the Maurya and Gupta era; the Harmandirji at Patna Sahib, a shrine consecrating the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh; the privately-held Jalan Museum in the city area with its rich collection of Jade, Chinese Paintings and Louis XIV chairs and crockery; the Martyrs Memorial at the Old Secretariat; the site of the ancient city of Pataliputra; and Agam Kuan (unfathomable well), one of the most important early historic archaeological remains in Patna.

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