STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Bhubaneswar, 6 January
The ministry of rural development has cleared proposals for 788 road works at a cost of Rs. 1,385 crore including 17 bridges sent by the Odisha government for the Integrated Action Plan districts and cyclone (Phailin) affected districts under the PMGSY.
Contrary to the repeated charge of central neglect leveled by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today said flow of funds has far exceeded all previous accounts and is also above the expenditure capacity of the state.
During 2012/13, the ministry had sanctioned 5,189 km road works costing Rs.2,445 crore. During 2013/14, it has sanctioned 3,924 km road works costing Rs.2,453 crore including the present clearance.
The central minister, in his letter to the CM, has suggested to explore possibilityof using industrial wastes and adopting new technologies like soil stabilization in road construction to reduce costs and save the environment.
Odisha has already been advised to approach some geotechnical experts to obtain advice to be incorporated in the design of roads/bridges in consultation with the NRRDA to minimise the effects of flooding, he observed.
He has also urged upon the CM to expedite sendng formal proposal to the ministry to engage central agencies for execution of PMGSY work in IAP districts so as to lessen the burden on the project implementation units (PIUs).
Earlier, Ramesh had informed the state government that the PIUs need to be strengthened as they are not in a position to spend the funds sanctioned by the ministry. The union minister was the one who had suggested that the Odisha government engage central public sector undertakings like the CPWD to execute the road and bridge works.