State to lay 9,000-km rural roads every year
While there is a need to lay over 45,000 km of rural roads to provide all-weather connectivity to all the habitations having population of at least 250, the State Government has set an ambitious target to develop at least 9,000 km of roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) each year.
According to a survey, about 72,000-km roads are required to be improved to provide all-weather connectivity to almost all the villages of the State, including habitations having minimum population of 250.
After the launching of the massive rural infrastructure development programme __ PMGSY __ in 2000-01, the State has so far provided road connectivity to about 28,000 habitations out of 49,000 by developing about 24,000 km of rural roads. The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has so far sanctioned for construction of 36,000 km of roads out of which 24,000-km roads have been completed and another 3,000 km of roads are under tendering process, said a senior officer of the Rural Development Department. The State Government had completed nearly 3,400 km of rural roads under PMGSY during 2011-12 and has targeted to complete another 4,000 km during the current financial year.
The Rural Development Department has submitted a proposal for construction and improvement of 5,250 km of rural roads with an estimated expenditure of Rs 2,664 crore during 2012-13, said Rural Development Secretary SN Tripathy.
Asserting that the State has the capacity to develop 10,000 km of rural roads under PMGSY, Tripathy said it could be possible with timely sanction of road projects and release of financial assistance from the Centre. The State Government has to develop more than 9,000 km of rural roads every year to provide all-weather connectivity to all the human habitations by the end of the 12th Plan period.
He, however, admitted that road projects in the Maoist-affected Malkangiri district could not be taken up due to lack of response from contractors. There are no takers for 156 road projects worth Rs 194 crore despite repeated tendering (12 or 13 times). Industrially-developed Jharsuguda district has topped the list in the completion of rural road projects under PMGSY followed by Jajpur.
According to Chief Engineer (Rural Works), the Centre has so far sanctioned projects worth Rs 12,741.90 crore for construction of 9,184 road projects measuring 36,070 km.
This would provide connectivity to 10,709 unconnected habitations. Out of the sanctioned project cost, the Centre had released Rs 9,629.55 crore up to April 30. The State has completed 23,309-km roads by the end of April by utilising Rs 8,598.42 crore.