statesman news service
Kolkata, 4 September
Having announced that roads will be repaired before the Pujas, state urban development and municipal affairs minister Mr Firad Hakim today realised there was no money for undertaking the task.
At a meeting held at Writers’ Buildings this afternoon, the heads of the municipalities complained that there were no funds for carrying out the repair work. Most of the municipalities, including the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), have exhausted their budgetary allocation for road repair.
The minister has thus decided to approach the finance department for re-allocation of funds in the Budget so as to receive funds from other heads.
Blaming it on this year&’s prolonged monsoon rainfall, Mr Hakim said the initiative of repairing the patches has turned out to be futile as the repaired patches have been washed away immediately by incessant rain. The condition of the roads is such that in order to go for permanent repairing, particularly cementing of the roads, the department will need around Rs 50,000 crore. “We expect to start off with around Rs 60 to 70 crore,” Mr Hakim said, adding that the money would be handed over to the municipalities where the condition of roads is very poor.
The move comes only two days after Mr Hakim had assured that all roads under Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), and the KMC and other municipalities will be repaired before the Pujas.
Sources at the Writers’ Buildings apprehended that it is impossible to have the roads in proper condition by the Pujas as work will start only after funds are sanctioned by the finance department, which is a time-consuming affair.
While commenting on the pathetic condition of Jessore Road, Mr Hakim held the soil condition responsible for the difficulty in maintaining the road.
The state government has been facing severe criticism over the poor condition of many roads maintained by the KMDA, KMC and PWD.