The State Government's poor track record of utilising fund and completing project in time once again came to the fore on Friday during the review of the Biju Setu Yojana, the much hyped rural connectivity programme.
The Government on Friday claimed to have completed 28 bridges and another 209 to be in different stages of construction. Tendering process for awarding the contract of the remaining bridges will be completed by June, 2013, stated a press release from the office of the Chief Minister.
"Our new initiative 'Biju Setu Yojana' will meet long cherished needs of people by bridging missing link of roads maintained by various departments. This programme of Rural Development Department is being taken up to construct about 400 bridges with over Rs 1,000 crore," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had said while launching the programme on October 10, 2011.
Government had targeted to build 100 bridges by March, 2012 and make rest of the bridges in next two years. "We will fund the project from our tax and non-tax revenue. If needed, we can approach for (Central Government sponsored) Rural Infrastructure Development Fund,” he said. Meanwhile, project cost has enhanced to Rs 1,300 crore, official sources said.
Prior to the launching of Biju Setu Yojana, the State Government had allocated Rs 1,000 crore to rebuild bridges damaged in devastating flood in 2011 and another Rs 150 crore to rebuild concrete roads in 3,000 flood-hit villages. Nobody knows the condition of the bridges affected by flood or about utilisation of fund. The Chief Minister never reviewed whether the funds allocated for the repair and reconstruction of the damaged bridges were utilised.
Since existing schemes for bridges were unable to cater to the requirement, the State Government launched its own scheme called Biju Setu Yojana to connect all the missing links on roads under the Rural Development Department.