Thursday, June 22, 2023

Replacement of the 161 year old Koilwar rail bridge on Sone river sanctioned by Railway Board to prevent disaster

East Central Railway responds to concerns raised by Advocate Dr. Gopal Krishna

Vinod Kumar, Deputy Chief Engineer, Office of the General Manager (Engineering), East Central Railway has informed Advocate Dr. Gopal Krishna on 20 June that the work has been sanctioned to replace the old bridge on Sone river with a new one, instrumentation of Koilwar bridge and metalization of corrosion-prone road deck by the end of financial year 2024 to prevent catastrophic consequences. He informed Dr. Krishna in response to his letter to Union Minister of Railways dated 6 June 2023 on the subject of structural safety and vulnerability of old railway bridges like 161 year old Koilwar bridge on Sone river. These steps are being taken in the aftermath of assurance given by the Ministry of Railways to him in July 2015.


The reply of East Central Railway dated 20/06/2023 states that for ensuring safety and security of the bridges, established practice of inspection of bridge and maintenance activities are being planned to keep the bridge in sound condition. It also staes that the painting of the entire bridge's steel girders was completed in 2022.


In his reply to the East Central Railway dated 21/06/2023, Advocate Dr. Krishna has suggested that the replacement of the steel girders may make the bridge safer because painting alone may not be effective. He informed East Central Railway that he has visited the site of the rail bridge along with reporters of national news channels and newspapers to ascertain the current status of the bridge at the top and at the bottom. It was noticed that the cement pavements built in the Sone river bed to provide support to all the pillars of the rail bridge were totally broken and strewn around. It was also noticed that the tracks and iron sheets between the tracks were in a rusted condition. This has been recorded and shown on the TV channels as well. He has sought classification of Koilwar rail bridge for special attention because it is one of the weakest and oldest bridges in India that is getting further weakened because of loss of strength of its foundation pillars due to unabated sand mining in the vicinity of the bridge. It is likely to be a cause of serious train disaster given the fact that massive sand mining is underway in this stretch. He has suggested that the vulnerability of the old rail bridge at Koilwar on Sone river cannot be addressed without addressing the indiscriminate and rampant sand mining in the area by sand miners from four states. The sand mining in this region is indefensible and unscientific. A high powered committee ought to be constituted to undertake cumulative impact assessment of sand mining related vulnerability of the rail bridge and to take immediate preventive steps. It is crying for very urgent intervention to prevent disaster in near future. He has sought inspection of the site for necessary action by the East Central Railway.       


Saturday, June 10, 2023

Relevance of 12 year jail term of a Swiss asbestos billionaire for Ramco's asbestos units in Bhojpur

One environmental lawyer has informed Dr. Devendra Kumar Shukla, Chairman, Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) about the Italian Court’s conviction of Swiss asbestos billionaire who has been sentenced to 12 years in jail and its relevance for Bihar's asbestos factory units in Bhojpur. 

Stephan Schmidheiny, the  Swiss billionaire has been sentenced on aggravated manslaughter charges connected to the deaths of hundreds of people due to asbestos exposure by an Italian court on 7 June, 2023. This verdict on the death of 392 people is relevant for Bihar because there are two asbestos based units of Chennai based Ramco Industries Limited in Bihiya, Bhojpur which have been found by BSPCB to be operating in violation of specific environmental laws. It has been violating Hon’ble Supreme Court’s verdict dated 27 January 1995 which paved the way for adoption of occupational health surveillance under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Guidance Manual-Asbestos Based Industries by the Union governmentBesides these laws and the Court’s order, the company is in violation of the three Schedules under Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSHWC) Code 2020 which refer to hazardous asbestos mineral fiber and asbestosis, an incurable disease.

It may be recalled that BSPCB has a consistent position against these two units of Ramco company’s hazardous asbestos plants pursuant to which Vivek Kumar Singh, as Chairman, BSPCB cancelled the Non-Objection Certificates (NOCs) given to the hazardous enterprise of Ramco company under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Rules 3 (1), Schedule 1 of Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules under Environment (Protection) Act 1986. These Rules deal with hazardous wastes generated during the production of asbestos or asbestos-containing materials including asbestos-containing residues, discarded asbestos and dust/particulates from exhaust gas treatment.  


Following the cancellation of NOCs, the company approached the Appellate Authority to appeal against the cancellation. At the time of their appeal the Appellate Authority happened to be Vivek Kumar Singh himself who as Chairman, Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) had cancelled their NOCs. The company used this apparent violation of the principle of natural justice as a ground to seek relief from the Patna High Court. It got the relief. Instead of confirming its order asking the State government to rectify the error by appointing a person as Appellate Authority in compliance with the principle of natural justice and unmindful of the fact that the fact of violation of environmental laws has not been disputed, the High Court allowed the company to operate its plant. But now that the Appellate Authority has been changed as per Court's directions and the error has been rectified and now the High Court has asked the Chairman, BSPCB to act after examining the complaint against it, the matter is before you. 


BSPCB's legal action could not become effective because of the order of a single judge bench of Patna High Court on the limited ground of violation of natural justice. The order of Justice Jyoti Sharan dated 30 March, 2017 had directed the Chief Secretary, State of Bihar to rectify the error of Chairman of the BSPCB and the Appellate Authority being the same person.



It is a fact that the Court’s order did not dispute the finding of the Board with regard to violation of the environmental laws. It did not dispute that as asbestos and asbestos based industries are heavily polluting and have been categorised as R24 in the Red Category.



Subsequently, a Division Bench of the Hon'ble High Court comprising Justices Ajay Kumar Tripathi and Niku Agrawal passed another order modifying the previous order in the Bihar State Pollution Control Board & others Vs M/S Ramco Industries Ltd. on 30 April, 2018 (Letters Patent Appeal No.873 of 2017 In Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No. 421 of 2017. The order authored by Justice Tripathi reads: "Since Mr. Vivek Kumar Singh no longer happens to be the Chairman of the Bihar State Pollution Control Board, therefore, one of the reasons provided by the learned Single Judge for interfering with the order no longer holds good. It is left open to the new Chairman of Bihar State Pollution Control Board to pass a fresh order in accordance with law after hearing the parties." Source: It is quite clear from the Court’s order that you have to re-issue the “fresh order in accordance with the law after hearing the parties.”


The Italian Court’s verdict is also relevant for Bihar because it has been estimated that one person dies from mesothelioma for every 170 tons of asbestos consumed. India is the biggest consumer of asbestos. It imported 3,61,164 tonnes of asbestos in 2019-20. The imports of asbestos were mainly from Russia (85%), Brazil , Kazakhstan, Hungary (3% each), and Poland  and South Africa (2% each). Asbestos diseases have a very long incubation period. Therefore,  if you are exposed today to asbestos fibre, you are likely to get the disease in the next 10-50 years. Asbestos is like a time bomb to the lungs and Indians will suffer the most. If it is banned today that does not mean people will not suffer. Because of past usage people will continue to suffer from these diseases. Although BSPCB has stopped all the asbestos plants except the Bihiya one, there is a need for it to recommend a ban on procurement of asbestos based products as well.   


The manufacturers of asbestos based products in Bihar who are endangering the lives of all present and future generations of residents of Bihar await a fate similar to that of the Swiss billionaire. The verdict is relevant for Bihar because there is no public or private building in the State which is asbestos free including the BSPCB building, Patna Secretariat, courts’ premises, legislature and academic buildings. This verdict is germane to Bihar because human biology is the same everywhere if the asbestos is deemed hazardous and unusable in some 70 developed countries like Italy, it must be deemed so in Bihar. The legal action taken by the BSPCB against the asbestos based factories of Ramco Industries Limited is praiseworthy. As a follow up of BSPCB’s previous action in this regard, there is a need to address the public health crisis as a consequence of ongoing unscientific and illegal disposal of hazardous and carcinogenic asbestos waste. The violation of all the general and specific conditions laid down in the NOC given by the BSPCB and the environmental clearance given by the Experts Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change by the company's factories in question is vrying for attention. These news broadcasts have captured the situation-1. Ramco Company: सरकार के साथ साथ दे रही जनता को धोखा, 2. रामकोकंपनीनेबिहियाकोबनायाडस्टबिन, 3.Asbestos के Sale  Use को Bihar मेंअबरोकदीजिए Nitish जीनहींतोबच्चेऐसेहीसोजातेरहेंगे, and 4. Buying Asbestos is buying Cancer: Chairman, Bihar Legislative Council 

The following methods in disposing of asbestos waste (dust and fibers) by the company in question has been noticed:

1. Using excavators the broken sheets are crushed and buried deep inside factory premises. The broken pieces pose a grave threat to the ground water shared by fertile agricultural land and villagers who use it for drinking purposes. 

2. Since there is no space to bury the asbestos waste and broken asbestos products are sold to fictitious or  known dealers on ex- factory basis to discard the company's responsibility for disposal. Normally, the destination of such disposal will be in remote locations and buried on fertile lands or used for land filling and covered by sand permanently. It seems to be a corporate crime but logical from the company's perspective as no one will pay 4 times the cost for transportation for a zero value material. 

3. The broken ast based sheets are cut inside the factory into unmarketable sizes like 1 meter length and gifted as CSR activities. The cutting process emits a lot of asbestos dust and fibers harmful for the workers and villagers. 

4. Broken asbestos sheets and wastes during transit handling or from customer end are brought to depot at various locations to harden top soil or land filling which again poses a threat to groundwater. Cutting broken bigger asbestos sheets also pose danger as asbestos  fibers become airborne. 

5. Wherever cement is handled in bags inside the factory it creates occupational hazard for workers due to asbestos dust particles. This is a threat to villagers as well because the air quality in the area gets polluted. 

6. Ramco Industries Limited has been donating asbestos based roofs to the nearby Mahtin Mai temple and to the parking space of the District Magistrate's office as an exercise in ethical positioning of its brand and as a public relations exercise. The villagers, temple devotees and the district administration have been taken for a ride. They have acted in complete ignorance of the Board's action against Ramco's factories.

The stance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who has declared in the State Assembly that Bihar Government will not allow construction of carcinogenic asbestos factories in the state on 1st July, 2019 is worthy of appreciation. 

This announcement and the verdict by the Italian Court vindicates  the anti-asbestos struggle by villagers of Muzaffarpur, Vaishali and Bhojpur.  

BSPCB's action with regard to carcinogenic white chrysotile asbestos mineral fiber has been consistent with what is published on National Health Portal (NHP) , Centre for Health Informatics (CHI), National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India. The National Health Portal states that “All forms of asbestos (chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite) are in use because of their extraordinary tensile strength, poor heat conduction, and relative resistance to chemical attack. Chemically, asbestos minerals are silicate compounds, meaning they contain atoms of silicon and oxygen in their molecular structure. All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans. Exposure to asbestos (including chrysotile) causes cancer of the lung, larynx, and ovaries, and also mesothelioma (a cancer of the pleural and peritoneal linings).” The asbestos exposure is also responsible for other diseases such as asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs), and plaques, thickening and effusion in the pleura.”  It observes that “Exposure to asbestos occurs through inhalation of fibers in air in the working environment, ambient air in the vicinity of point sources such as factories handling asbestos, or indoor air in housing and buildings containing friable asbestos materials.”

In such a backdrop, it is quite distressing that Ramco company's factories in Bihiya managed to get relief from Hon’ble Patna High Court on a grossly procedural ground of violation of natural justice. This procedural error ought to be rectified and the operation of the two units of an asbestos company must be stopped. Its operation is a case of environmental health lawlessness. It has violated every specific and general condition which has been stipulated in the environmental clearance and the No Objection Certificate. It may also be noted that when a worker died in this factory, his family was given a compensation of Rs 5, 000. The factory seemed to have the patronage of Bhojpur administration by donating asbestos roofs to it for its parking. This situation creates a compelling logic for medical investigation of the environmental health status of the village and temple communities living in the vicinity of these units and the workers of these two factories owned by the same company. The probe can reveal the extent of asbestos related diseases in this area because of environmental exposure.


The EIA Guidance Manual requires the asbestos factories like the ones operated by Ramco company to have the occupational health surveillance program to address pre- employment health examination and periodic health examination. Every employee on his/her appointment for a job with a possibility of exposure to airborne asbestos shall get the pre-employment medical examination done within stipulated days of his employment, by the employer. Scheme for health surveillance shall include exposure data at each pertinent work place, periodical examination of workers, X-ray examination for radiological changes, lung function test for restrictive disorder and clinical examination for early detection of signs of asbestosis. These tests are to be recorded for pre-employment, periodic surveillance and at cessation of employment as per the concerned state government regulations. The occupational health surveillance is to be carried out by occupational physician or chest physician trained in occupational medicine. The occupational health surveillance program is to be drawn for all the employees potentially exposed to asbestos dust and it is to be provided free of cost. The medical records are to be maintained and stored for period of 15 years following the termination of employment or for 40 years after first day of employment, whichever is later. The medical records is to be maintained covering the details of pre-employment examination, the periodical medical examinations, medical examination done at other times, if any and the medical examinations conducted at cessation of employment and further follow-up examinations, where done. The records shall also be maintained of the individual employee's occupational exposure profile to asbestos, specific work practices, and preventive measures prescribed. All asbestos based products have a life-span, it is natural that all asbestos based products are potential asbestos wastes. It may be noted that at present Indian railways is removing asbestos cement roofs from over 7, 000 railway stations and from railway platforms in Bihar like elsewhere. BSPCB ought to ensure that asbestos waste generated in the process is disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. There is a need for the BSPCB to create a Master Plan for decontaminating all asbestos laden government buildings including legislative and judicial buildings in Bihar and for probing the health status of the communities linked to the factory and who reside in proximity of the two units of asbestos factories in Bihiya. It is necessary to initiate preventive action in the face of tycoons, officials and ministers facing criminal charges and imprisonment for their act of knowingly subjecting unsuspecting people to killer fibers of asbestos in Europe. The future will be no different for the culprits in India


It has been learnt that Prof. Arthur L. Frank, Professor of Public Health and Professor of Medicine, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA has written to the Chairman, BSPCB in this regard saying, "We hope that the technical judgement by the Courts can be rectified and swift action taken to stop its use, and to plan for future use of safer materials, which do exist, and for the cleanup of the current environmental pollution." 

Dr. Barry Castleman, author of Medical and Legal Aspects of Asbestos, the most authoritative book on asbestos industry has also written to the Chairman, BSPCB regarding Ramco company's operation stating, "Surely the Board has the means to compel disclosure about the fate of the plant's voluminous wastes.These wastes are a design feature of asbestos cement plants, and their fate should be disclosed to the public environmental authorities. Appropriate regulation can then be imposed." This state of sad affairs is crying for BSPCB's attention.


The environmental lawyer has urged the BSPCB to take remedial measures by setting matters right by restoring and reiterating it’s earlier order to safeguard public health and ensure environmental justice. There is a logical compulsion for the BSPCB to do so. 



Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Railway minister asked to replace 161 year old Koilwar bridge on Sone river to prevent train disaster


 A public interest lawyer has sent a letter to the union railway minister on the subject of structural safety and vulnerability of old railway bridges like 161 year old Koilwar bridge on Sone river seeking a new bridge in place of the old one.

Although there are 37,689 bridges on railway network which are 100 years or older but the ministry has not classified them for special attention.Dr. Gopal Krishna, the lawyer has pointed out that the CAG’s audit report of 2015 has recorded that 6,680 bridges were over 140 years old including the 161 year old Koilwar railway bridge on Sone river.  


The Koilwar Bridge is known as Abdul Bari Bridge in the memory of Abdul Bari, a well known freedom fighter. It is one of the weakest and oldest bridges in India that is getting further weakened because of loss of strength of its foundation pillars due to unabated sand mining in the vicinity of bridge.

The lawyer had written a letter on the subject of "Imminent serious train disaster in Koilwar, cleanliness at Railway Stations and human rights of General ticket passengers" addressed to the railway minister on 4 July, 2015. He was assured that “Action is being taken by this office and we will be reverting back to you at the earliest” but his recent field visit to the Koilwar railway bridge shows that no action has been taken to ensure that steps are taken to replace the old bridge with a new one.  

A High Level Safety Review Committee had recommended instrumentation of all bridges and use of advanced scientific measurements and inspection for condition assessment in February 2012. Instead of acting its recommendations, the practice of treating the very old  bridges on par with the existing newer and modern bridges when it comes to inspections and maintenance is an invitation for disaster. These bridges have been planned for lesser loads and service conditions that have changed radically over time. The delay in replacing Koilwar’s old bridge with a new rail bridge over Sone river at Koilwar is fraught with catastrophic consequences.  

The rail bridge over Sone river in Koilwar between Ara and Patna is endangered. It is likely to be a cause of serious train disaster given the fact that massive sand mining is underway in this stretch. The nuts and bolts of the bridge are coming apart. The bridge itself is in rusted condition and is bearing heavy traffic. This bridge was constructed when this region was part of the Bengal Presidency. It was built to serve as a link between the city of Patna on the east side of the Son River and Ara town on the river’s west bank. This bridge appears in the Oscar-winning movie Gandhi (1982). It may be recalled that the plan for this bridge began in 1851. The initial survey of the site that done by George Turnbull (1809-1889), chief engineer of the East Indian Railway Company. The designers of the Koilwar Bridge included civil engineer James Meadows Rendel (1799-1856) and architect Matthew Digby Wyatt (1820-1877). The construction on the bridge was started in 1856. This road-cum railway bridge was formally inaugurated in 1862 by James Bruce (1811-1863), who had been appointed viceroy and governor-general of all of British India’s provinces in that very year. This bridge commenced as the longest river bridge in the entire Indian subcontinent. It is crying for railway ministry's very urgent intervention to prevent disaster in near future.

The Axle loads and traffic density have increased with the advent of faster and heavier trains. As a consequence the safety of these old bridges are severely compromised which is likely to lead to safety failures. The obsolete technology and materials used in these old bridges may not be compliant with modern rail system. The deficiencies related to aging bridges are a major concern for their structural safety. The current approach of the ministry is detrimental to the health of a bridge since the archaic technology and materials of these older bridges can not withstand the rigours of modern rail transport equipment. These bridges have withstood the stress and rigours for over a century suffering corrosion, distress, wear and tear but their vulnerability cannot be denied. 

With the advent of modern rail transportation, older bridges will not be unable to withstand higher load and speed, resulting in accidents. Both Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways and the audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) have taken note of the existence of a large number of very old bridges. The latter has identified them “as due for rehabilitation/ reconstruction is a concern for safe train operations.” There is a need for the ministry to re-evaluate the old bridges to augment the safety and security of bridges like on the one Sone river at Koilwar by devising a protocol of inspection and maintenance to include a greater degree of safety and safeguards for bridges.  

In his letter the lawyer who has authored his doctoral thesis on the industrial disaster of Bhopal has pointed out that the disasters happen because early warnings are not heeded. The preventable disasters are inexcusable and unpardonable. The public institutions cannot be given the right to feign surprise in the event of disasters.    

There is a logical compulsion to replace the old Koilwar rail bridge with a new one at the earliest. Any unfortunate incident on this railway bridge will be the sole responsibility of the railway ministry because no preventive steps have been taken despite it being made aware of the vulnerability of the old bridge at Koilwar on Sone river because of rampant sand mining in the area by sand miners from four states. The sand mining in this region is indefensible and unscientific. The ministry ought to constitute a high powered committee to undertake cumulative impact assessment of its vulnerability and take immediate preventive steps.    

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Patna Museum has artefacts from of post-1764 period, Bihar Museum focuses from ancient India era to 1764

In a paper entitled "Provincial Pasts and National Histories: Territorial self-fashioning in twentieth-century Bihar" authored by Aryendra Chakravartty, an Associate Professor of History, Stephen F. Austin State University, University in Texas observes that institutions such as the Bihar and Orissa Research Society established in 1915 and the Patna Museum established in 1917 helped the new political-cultural configuration of the region. The former was set up on the lines of ‘Oriental’ institute—the Asiatic Society of Bengal which was established in 1794. The latter was established to house the "archaeological wealth" which were being discovered in Bihar. Sachchidananda Sinha had put forward the proposal for a museum in Patna at the meeting in January 1915 which was convened for the establishment of Bihar and Orissa Research Society. In 1916, the early collection of exhibits for the museum was first housed at the Commissioner’s Bungalow. Edward Gait established the Patna Museum in April 1917. The artefacts were moved to the North Wing of the Patna High Court, which remained a storehouse of artefacts. It was opened to the public in June 1921. The Patna Museum remained attached to the Patna High Court till 1929.

Given the fact that the North Wing of the Patna High Court was inadequate, an initiative to set up a new museum building was taken up in 1925. Bishun Swarup, the chief engineer of the Public Works Department, and Sohan Lal and Brij Narayan were assigned the task of designing an appropriate building. The final plans were approved in December 1926. It emerged as an Indo-Saracenic or Mogul-Rajput-style building. The museum building became fully functional only in 1929 after the current Patna Museum building was inaugurated. 

Chakravartty's paper published in Modern Asian Studies, Cambridge University Press reveals that accidental finding of the Didarganj Yakshi happened at the bank of Ganga by Maulavi Qazi Saiyid Muhammad Azimul on 18 October 1917. It began to be worshiped ‘under the mistaken notion that the figure was a Hindu deity’. It was due to the intervention of J. N. Samaddar, a member of the Society and professor at Patna College, that the statue was removed from the sanctified domain of religion to that of history and archaeology. It was Samaddar who brought the discovery of the statue to the attention of E. H. C. Walsh, vice-president of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society and president of the Patna Museum Committee. It was brought to the Patna Museum. A Didarganj Yakshi statue was the museum's most prized collection, which has been  shifted to Bihar Museum. The artefacts from ancient India era to 1764 are being kept in Bihar Museum and those of post-1764 period are kept at Patna Museum. 

PMC states that "Rahul sankrityayan donated 10000 manuscript which are written in Gold and silver on handmade papers and book on Buddhist philosophy that were once in the library of ancient Nalanda and Vikramshila university. These manuscript were taken to Tibet dating back of around 700 years ago before the destruction of these universities.These manuscripts were brought by him." 

According to Patna Municipal Corporation, "Patna Museum is the state museum of the Indian state of Bihar. Started on 3 April 1917 during the British Raj to house the historical artefacts found in the vicinity of Patna, it is in the style of Mughal and Rajput architecture and is known locally as the Jadu Ghar. Most of the early collections have now been transferred to Bihar Museum."

PMC states that "Items on display in the multipurpose museum include archaeological objects, coins, art objects, paintings, instruments, textiles, paintings, thankas, bronze images and sculptures and terra cotta images by Hindu and Buddhist artists.It has a rare collection of British-period paintings depicting day-to-day life, as well as a fine collection related to the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad. It also houses a World War I cannon. The fossil of a tree said to be more than 200 million years old is on display, as is a casket — unearthed in 1958 by archaeologist, A. S. Altekar, at the Relic Stupa of Vaishali — said to contain the sacred ashes (relics) of Gautama Buddha." It discloses that a project was started in November 2009 to build a replacement museum in Patna to enable the display of larger collections. The decision to construct this world class museum was approved on 26.11.2009 and that was followed by selection of consultant for preparation of a master plan by issuing
advertisement in April, 2010. The work of consultancy and preparation of master plan was awarded to M/s Lord Cultural Resources, Toronto, Canada) through a letter of award dated 31.05.2011. The amount of Rs.4,30,00,000/- quoted by the agency as the ‘total contract fee’ was accepted.M/s Lords Cultural
Resources (LCR) was appointed as consultant for preparing master plan and its allied components was awarded the contracts worth Rs.22,17,20,733/- and was paid a sum of Rs.14,85,28,816.

Now there is a proposal to join Patna Museum and Bihar Museum through an underground tunnel. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has released a tender for the construction of underground tunnel between the Bihar Museum and the Patna Museum. The tender was released on February 23, 2023, and bids will be accepted until April 5, 2023. The underground tunnel will be 1.47 kilometres long and will connect the two museums, allowing visitors to easily move between them. The tunnel will be built using the latest technology and will ensure a safe and comfortable journey for the visitors. DMRC has been GIVEN the responsibility of executing this project by Urban Development & Housing Department (UDHD), Government of Bihar. The project is expected to be completed within a period of three years. An MOU has already been signed between UDHD, Govt. of Bihar and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (DMRC) for the underground tunnel between both the museums. It has been claimed that the walls of the tunnel will exhibit art, culture and heritage of the state.

Prior to this, in a case related to Bihar Museum, a division bench of Chief Justice L. Narasimha Reddy and Justice Sudhir Singh of Patna High Court has observed that "we cannot remain oblivious to the gross illegality on the part of the State, not only taking up the project by wasting limited public resources, but also in awarding the contract in a manner which is far from transparent. We, therefore, dispose of the writ petition holding that the project of construction of world class museum in Patna at the cost of about Rs. Five hundred crores in a prime land of 17 ½ acres between the Secretariat and the Patna High Court is not at all in public interest and that the manner in which the contracts of consultancy etc. were awarded is far from transparent and objective. However, we are not intending to stall the project which is nearing
completion. We direct that in case the museum becomes unviable, the building and other infrastructure shall not be alienated to private firms, but shall be utilized for public institutions or purposes."