Patna 2013 - A year in retrospect

The year 2013 brought many new dimensions to Patna from a number of perspective. Not only did the starting of several projects in the city gave a new hope about the better future, but also brought the threat of terrorism at the doorstep of the generally peaceful city in the passing year. The city which witnessed the repeated failure of the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) at the orders of the Patna High Court on garbage issues, also witnessed bitter spat among the functionaries of the corporation towards the end of the year. Whereas the launching of new projects installed a hope of faith among the citizen, the repeated massive traffic jams worried the citizen a lot as well. The city looked bitterly outdated when referenced to the urban planing and seemed crumbling under the ever increasing weight of the population, vehicles and protests. We take a look at the year gone by to predict the next year situation.

The year 2013 was a special one - it marked the 100 year of creation of the state. Therefore a number of events kept happening especially in the first quarter of the year in Patna. The grand event - Bihar Day Celebration (March 22-24) - was held at the historic Gandhi Maidan where the top executives of the state participated the occasion. The 3-day celebration brought artists from all over the country. The event was followed by the 19th Book Fair by CRD which attracted a lot of crowd. The city witnessed three book fairs - all in Gandhi Maidan- during the year, which is something interesting. A number of fairs like Saras Fair kept on happening throughout the year. Perhaps the most eye-catching event during the year has been the starting of the work on the Ganga Path project. The ambitious project along the bank of the river Ganga hopes to greatly ease the traffic load on the Ashok Rajpath and give a boost to the city's infrastructure. It is expected that once completed, it will greatly promote the industries along the bank, especially in Patna city area, including tourism industry. Another highlight on infrastructure sector has been the proposed Patna Metro Rail. The state government has sought DPR (Detailed Project Report) from RITES. The Rs. 8,000 crore project, if approved, will be a landmark event in the infrastructure sector of the city. The city also witnessed a starting of work on a number of world class buildings. The foremost among them is the proposed museum which will be of international standard and whose design has been selected after a global competition. The work has already been started at a site near Patna High Court. An international convention centre will come up near Ashok Rajpath at Gandhi Maidan. The work has already started, however the project ran into controversy after the girls of Magadh Mahila College took onto protest at the project design to block the road to the main entrance of the college towards the end of the year.

The security of Patna was stepped up after serial bomb blasts rocked the Mahabodhi Temple complex in Bodh Gaya in July 2013. However, the security proved to be of little use when a couple of months later, more than a dozen bombs rocked Gandhi Maidan and Patna Junction. The occasion chooses was the political rally of BJP where its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was to address the supporter at the Gandhi Maidan. The blasts sent ripple across the machinery of the state government. The steps were taken however the damage was already done. The police is taking enhanced steps to counter such terror activities. One such step made it mandatory for the landlords to furnish details of their tenants at the nearest police station. The continued violence in the college campuses of Patna University was also a cause of worry throughout the year.

The Municipal Corporation continued to fail at multiple front. The stinging garbage not only distracted citizens alone, but drew attentions of the judges of Patna High Court who took cognizance of it and PMC was always at loss to explain its failure. The construction of high rise apartments along the narrow roads in the city also drew remarks from the court, however still no guidelines has been framed in this matter by the authorities. The bitter squabbling among the functionaries of the corporation also hampered its reputation. The city continues to choke under massive traffic jams. The recurring political rallies and protests added more problem to the citizen's woe. There is still no visible solution to this ever growing problem. Though the government has planned to launch spacious city buses but the plan failed to take off in the year. It is expected that it will be operational from the first quarter of the coming year.

There is no denying fact that city continue to face a lot of problems at many fronts. Nevertheless initiatives has been taken at many fronts. The year 2014 can be no different from 2013 given the present scenarios. We can only hope that some major initiatives are taken in the coming year whose result could be visible in the future years. Unless some bold approaches are undertaken and some sort of urban planning on scientific lines are finalized, there is little hope for the city from the existing approaches.