BHUBANESWAR: With several tribal villages and habitations like Gumudumaha in Kandhamal district and Nagada in Jajpur district presenting a gloomy picture, the State Government on Wednesday directed departments concerned to give top priority to rural road connectivity programme.
The issue was discussed at the all Secretaries meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi at the Secretariat here.
The meeting decided to use both space technology with GIS mapping and ground level survey for the purpose.
A committee was formed under the chairmanship of Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan with Secretaries of Rural Development, Forest and Environment, ST and SC Development departments and Chief Executive Officer of Odisha Space Application Centre for close monitoring of the progress of road connectivity.
Balakrishnan said the district level committees under respective Collectors will look into the ‘ground truth’ of the data collected through remote sensing and determine the nature of gap in connectivity.
The Chief Secretary asked the nodal departments to focus on road connectivity in the first phase and complete identification of unconnected villages within two to three months.
Since villages like Nagada are located in rough terrain, the Development Commissioner suggested that hilly tracks with its terrain features should also be taken into consideration while identifying these villages so that appropriate method can be adopted for establishing road connectivity.
Balakrishnan, also the Additional Chief Secretary, Finance, told the meeting that there is a significant improvement in plan expenditure during current financial year. Around Rs 16,202 crore has been utilised by end of August, 2016 as compared to Rs 12,589 crore during the same period in last fiscal.
Expenditure in agriculture and allied sectors has been around Rs 4,154 crore which is more than 37 per cent of the budget estimate for the current financial year. The fund utilisation was about 29 per cent of the estimate during the same period in 2015-16.
Similarly, infrastructure spending has gone up to around 44 per cent of the budget estimate as against 39 per cent during the same period in the last financial year.
In real terms, the expenditure in this sector has been around Rs 4,945 crore. The social sector spending also followed the same pattern with utilisation of around Rs 6,433 crore which is around 32 per cent of the budget estimate.
Reviewing the progress of fund utilisation in various sectors, Padhi directed all revenue generating departments to augment revenue collection through one-time settlements of old cases. Higher revenue income will support higher expenditure in infrastructure and agricultural sectors, he added. Revenue collection from own tax and non-tax sources has been to the tune of Rs 10,622 crore, he added.