Good road building was said to have helped Nitish Kumar win a second term in office in the 2010 Bihar assembly elections. Bad roads connecting important places in the Buddhist and Jain circuits are now hampering their growth potential and tarnishing the state's image among tourists, especially foreigners.
At least that's what the Bihar Tour and Travels Association believes. In a letter to the state tourism department, it has urged the government to improve the roads in the Buddhist and Jain tourist circuits.
"Roads are bad in both circuits that leave poor impression on tourists," K P Singh, association general secretary, said Tuesday.
Singh said many Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centres of the state which happened to be the biggest attractions for tourists have remained inaccessible due to bad roads.
He said the 22-km stretch from Nawada to Kaolat waterfall is in bad condition. "A group of tourists during a trip on Jan 1 preferred to get down and walk, thanks to bad roads," he said.
The road condition on the Jain circuit is equally deplorable, according to Singh. There are 52 Jain sites in the state. But it is difficult for tourists to reach many of these places, including Kundangram, the birthplace of Lord Mahavir near Vaishali, due to bad roads.
In Buddhist circuit, roads are good in Bodh Gaya and Nalanda. But at other places the roads are damaged.
Association chairman Gopal Lal Mahto said accommodation facilities at most of the tourist destinations were also in bad shape. "Most of the hotels run by the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation are poorly managed."
However, the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation's officials claimed that the state had attracted more than 5.27 lakh foreign tourists as of November 2011, which is the highest number for any state in India.
Early this month, the state government had held road shows across the country to change people's perception about lawlessness in Bihar and to inform them that it is safe to visit the state