VIJAYAWADA: Principal Secretary (Transport and R&B) MT Krishna Babu has said that steps are being taken to develop 8,970 km of major roads at an estimated cost of Rs 2,205 crore. The Principal Secretary was speaking at a meeting with officials to disclose details of funds allocated for the development of roads and the ongoing works at the R & B office here on Monday.
“Last year, Rs 932 crore was spent on development of roads in the state, of which Rs 417 crore was spent on state highways and Rs 515 crore on major district roads. Around Rs 380 crore worth bills were sanctioned till January, out of Rs 600 crore spent in the previous year. Steps are being taken to clear the pending bills on a priority basis and the department has urged the finance department to release funds accordingly,” he said.
To allay fears of the contractors, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had directed the department to take loans from banks and pay bills directly to the contractors through banks. Negotiations are underway with five major banks in this regard. Three banks have come forward to lend and pay the bills. Besides that, the cess coming to the state through petrol and diesel sale will be diverted to the Andhra Pradesh Road Development Corporation (APRDC), Krishna Babu explained.
“Around Rs 410 crore was sanctioned in 2020-21 budget and works taken up with Rs 160 crore are in different stages of completion. In the next 10 days, the government will release the pending funds to the department. A chief engineer was appointed as a nodal officer to monitor the condition of the roads and develop them on a priority basis,” he informed.
‘No plan to collect toll on state highways’
Referring to the toll collection on state highways, the principal secretary said that a toll policy was prepared. A Detailed Project Report (DPR) is being prepared and it will be submitted to the state government. As of now, there are no plans for collecting toll on state highways, Principal Secretary MT Krishna Babu said.