Bad roads in Bihar are nothing new, but now it has forced state ministers to say goodbye to swanky, new cars and demand Ambassador cars as they are more comfortable on rough and bumpy roads.
Old is gold appears to impress Bihar's ministers, who want Ambassadors for official use in place of cars like the Indigo and Scorpio.
"After travelling in SUVs for nearly two years, ministers found that the Ambassador is more comfortable for bad roads in Bihar. Now the proposal to purchase new Ambassador cars is under consideration," a senior official in the state finance department said.
Soon after Nitish Kumar became the chief minister of Bihar on November 24, 2005, his government purchased 56 SUVs worth Rs 3 crore for 28 ministers.
"SUVs are good for roads in Delhi, Bengaluru or outside Bihar, but are not comfortable in Bihar due to bad roads," a private secretary of a powerful minister, who is in his 70s, told rediff.com in Patna on Friday.
Most ministers complained that they find it difficult to travel in SUVs in rural areas.
"The SUVs provided by the government are not at all comfortable in rural areas, where most of us have to visit regularly to be in touch with our constituencies," a minister, who did not want to be named, said.
Some ministers privately justified their demand for Ambassador cars by saying Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi were using Ambassadors.
Faced with restlessness among ministers over SUVs, the state government is likely to purchase nearly 100 new Ambassador cars after the final decision taken by the concerned departments.
The government will have to spend Rs 5 to 6 crores for it.
Despite Nitish Kumar's tall claims of good roads in Bihar after coming to power, roads continue to be in bad shape.
Even most of the roads in Patna are worse than the roads in rural areas in comparison with developed states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Not to talk about roads in rural Bihar.
What is pathetic is that most of the national highways passing through Bihar are also not in good shape.