Sivaramakrishnan (2002, pp. 291-303) conceives infrastructure as a component of good governance. Whatsoever may be its kind or form and nature, infrastructural development in any
state or country constitutes the major element of good governance and indicates the degree and quality of performance of the government. Since infrastructural development provides framework supporting an entire structure of development, hence, economic growth and development of the state or nation fully depends upon it. Infrastructure generally includes transport infrastructure, energy infrastructure, water management infrastructure, economic infrastructure, social infrastructure, cultural, sports and recreational infrastructure etc. In Sikkim, an existence of steep and sloppy land structure with narrow gorges permanently determined the development of infrastructure. Moreover, at the time when SSP government led by Bhandari came to power in 1985, Sikkim was only ten years old that had joined the mainstream of Indian Union. So there was a need for the infrastructural development in all the sectors in Sikkim. Henceforth, Bhandari government during its first regime concentrated on infrastructural development which undertook for several years in various sectors in Sikkim. Such infrastructural development which was accomplished during Bhandari’s regime can be categorized under several sub-heads for discussion. (i) Transportation Infrastructure: Transportation infrastructure as part of infrastructural development forms one of the key elements of good governance. It constitutes lifeline of progress and development of the state or nation in all spheres. However, its accessibility and possibility has close connection with the governance or performance of the government. In Sikkim, transportation infrastructure includes road and highway networks; bridges, tunnels, culverts, retaining walls, electrical systems; street lighting and traffic lights, computerized rail systems and bus transportation, flyovers, pedestrian walkways, including pedestrian bridges, pedestrian underpasses and other specialized structures for pedestrians. After the SSP led government assumed power in 1985, initiatives were taken to make the possibility of vehicular transportation in far flung areas of Sikkim. The village roads and bridges were constructed on the basis of population, tourist potential, economic development and social welfare schemes being extended in the rural areas. In the rural areas, roads and bridges were made accessible to provide basic facilities, transport of food-grains, easy transport of patients from villages to different Health Centres, attending district and other offices as well as to transport the agricultural products to the marketing centres etc. From 1985-1992, total road increased to 2243 kilometers against 1292 of 1980 with the increased margin of 951 kms. The steep and narrow roads were widened and upgraded. Old and weak bridges were replaced by higher load capacity bridges. Besides, 16 other old and weak steel bridges were replaced by permanent ones with high load and carrying capacity and altogether 21 suspension bridges were reinforced and upgraded (BESPDD, Govt. of Sikkim, nd, pp. 59-63).
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