BHUBANESWAR: With road connectivity provided to only six per cent of the targeted habitations during the current financial year, the Centre has asked the State Government to speed up the rural infrastructure programme to meet the target by March 2019.
While advancing the deadline for providing new connectivity to all eligible habitations under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) from March 2022 to March 2019, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has fixed an annual target for the State to construct 8,000 km of rural road under the flagship infrastructure development programme in 2018-19.
If the target is met, all-weather connectivity could be provided to 2,500 habitations by the end of this fiscal. However, the State has completed only 793 km of roads (10 per cent of the target) connecting 145 habitations till August-end.
The MoRD has expressed concern over the slow pace of rural road construction in a recent communication to the State Government. “The extremely slow pace of construction by the State is much below the national average and is a cause of concern. The State is required to construct roads at an average rate of 33 kms per day for next seven months,” MoRD Secretary Amarjeet Sinha said in a letter to Chief Secretary AP Padhi.
Noting that 13,233 km of the total road projects sanctioned for the State has remained incomplete, Sinha said the executing agency is yet to award contract for construction of 1,236 km of road.
Requesting the State Government to award all the works on a priority basis, Sinha said approval of pending road projects under PMGSY-II would be possible only after awarding 80 per cent of the old works. He further requested Padhi to direct the department concerned to submit all project proposals under PMGSY-I by September 15 and project of PMGSY-II by October 15.
PMGSY-II envisages consolidation of the existing rural road network to improve its overall efficiency as a provider of transportation services for people, goods and services. It aims to cover upgradation of existing selected rural roads based on their economic potential and role in facilitating the growth of rural market centres and rural hubs.
Sinha further pointed out that 19 per cent of the road inspected under national quality monitoring (NQM) was found to be unsatisfactory. The State must give emphasis on maintenance of roads in order to preserve the huge assets value. “In view of the less than satisfactory physical and financial progress under PMGSY, you are requested to personally intervene and review the progress at your level and direct the officers concerned to speed up the progress of works,” Sinha said.