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Effective public service delivery through innovative governance knowledge exchange
3G mobile phones to track road construction in Bihar
The Bihar State Road Corporation will deploy GPS enabled android phones to enable centralized monitoring of road construction from January 2011.

Upwardly mobile Bihar is now set to become the first state in the country to use the latest cellphones for centralised monitoring of road construction.

Come January 10, Bihar State Road Development Corporation (BSRDC), under the Road Construction Department (RCD), will deploy Android phones to help executive engineers keep an eye on road construction from district headquarters, while the RCD Secretary will do so from the Patna office.

Earlier, Bihar State Bridge Construction Corporation had successfully used GPS-enabled phones to help mobile inspectors track engineers on duty. The latest mobile operation system supports all Google applications in 3G mobile phones.

The network of roads built under his regime is believed to have played a crucial role in Nitish Kumar’s return to power with a thumping majority. Since 2006-07, Bihar has constructed 23,606 km roads besides augmenting and repairing 1,657 km of national highways.

The Android technology, it is hoped, would work thus:

a) Assistant or executive engineers will visit construction sites every two days to take pictures of constructed roads and upload them on the RCD site. Photos taken using these phones would verify that the pictures have actually been taken at the site of the construction.

b) To ensure double compliance of work done, the RCD Secretary will monitor the same using Google Maps, available on the phone.

In the first phase, the phones would be given to eight executive/assistant engineers for inspection of three state highways, 68, 69 and 70, in the Naxal-hit Gaya and Aurangabad, being constructed or augmented with Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan.

The three projects have been chosen as they were running behind time and needed immediate effective measures.

Once the government is convinced of the usefulness of the technology, all 200 engineers in-charge of road projects under the RCD would be given the phones, said RCD Secretary and BSRDC Managing Director Pratyay Amrit.

“By April, we will be replicating the experiment with our entire department to complete road projects in time. We have already completed six of nine ADB-supported road projects in time,” he added.

Amrit noted that the measure does not entail big cost. “We only have to purchase eight Android-enabled sets now. Such a set comes for less than Rs 10,000. Phone bills with the technology will only go up by Rs 900 for an engineer,” said the Secretary. “When the bulk order is placed in April, a phone set will cost even lesser.”

The ADB has given Bihar Rs 1,971 crore for first-phase projects, covering 820 km. Construction of roads started in 2008-09 and has to be completed by 2011-12.

The Secretary said that it was only because of timely completion of most projects by Bihar that the ADB had agreed to give a second phase loan of over Rs 1500 crore. The state government has to bear 10 per cent of the project cost under this.

Source: OneWorld South Asia