Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Thursday said his government will look to boost the production of ethanol from maize, which is grown in 21 of the state’s 38 districts. He was speaking in Patna during the virtual inauguration of the new Koelwar bridge linking Patna and Ara.
Responding to a suggestion by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Nitish said a similar proposal he had presented to the UPA government during his first term was not approved. “We had approached the UPA government during my first term (2005-2010) but they did not respond. We are happy that the present government has warmed up to the idea,” said the Bihar Chief Minister.
Gadkari, the Union Minister for Transport and Highways, was virtually attending the bridge inauguration from New Delhi.
The bridge over the Sone river was constructed at a cost of around Rs 266 crore, parallel to the old Koelwar bridge. Three of its lanes are now open to traffic while three more are expected to be ready by June. It will enable smoother movement of traffic between South and Central Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Traffic flow to Delhi is also likely to be smoother with the Patna-Ara-Buxar and NH-84 (Ara-Buxar) routes getting connected to the Lucknow-Ghazipur Expressway. Construction on the 1.52-km project began in 2017.
Earlier, Gadkari, who is also MSME Minister, said: “We need a lot of ethanol. Ethanol has the potential of being a Rs 2 lakh crore-industry in the country…I would request the Bihar CM to focus on ethanol production through maize. Our MSME department will support it.”
Gadkari also said the newly-constructed bridge would provide a vital link not just between Bihar towns but also between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and to Delhi.