A draft report prepared under the project titled ‘Study of Road Construction Industry in State of Bihar’, sponsored by World Bank under the DFID trust fund technical assistance programme, says that a total of 8,500km of rural roads were constructed in the state under different schemes during 2012-13. But the total length of constructed roads decreased to 6,504 km (more than 23%) in 2013-14. These roads were constructed under programmes namely Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY), Mukhya Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (MMGSY), Minimum&nbs p;Needs Programme (MNP), Special Component Programme (SCP), Nabard and the Aaapki Sarkar Aapke Dwar (ASAD).
At the same time, total expenditure under these programmes increased by 10%. As per the study report, a sum of Rs 2,664.73 crore was spent during 2012-13. But it increased to Rs 2931.96 crore in 2013-14.
The draft report, which was distributed among stakeholders for their comments during a state-level workshop, disclosed that the number of valid registered contractors in the road construction sector was declining fast in the state, mainly due to decrease in margin of profitability compared to other sectors like real estate where annual profit margin is more than 25%.
As per the report, the road construction department (RCD) has a total of 2,586 registered contractors in all three – class one, class two and class three – categories. Of them, only 1,204 (47%) renewed their registration in the last financial year. "It is observed that 53% of contractors didn’t renew their licence with the RCD," the report says.
Similarly, the rural works department (RWD), which monitors construction of rural roads, has a total of 6,173 registered contractors in all three categories. Of them, only 4,096 (66%) renewed their licences. "It shows that 34% of contractors didn’t renew their licence with the RWD," the report highlights.
"The major reasons behind non-completion of road projects on schedule are delay in land acquisition, delay in relocation of utilities, scarcity of materials like stone chips, iron etc and faulty preparation of design and detailed project reports," the study elaborates.