Rural road plan strays off target in Maharashtra

Officials from the rural development department said the scheme was launched with an aim of improvement and strengthening of 30,000 km roads and construction of 730 km new roads across the state.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai | Published: November 13, 2017 6:00 am
“Though the scheme was launched in October 2015, the actual expenditure started only in 2016-17. Besides, the delay is caused primarily due to the monsoon, administrative process of approving the works and tendering,” said a senior official. (Representational Image)

Maharashtra government’s ambitious plan of constructing 7,000 km roads in rural parts every year and 30,000 km roads in five years may be way off its target as the rural development department has been able to construct 1,100 km roads under the Chief Minister Gram Sadak Yojana (CMGSY) since it was launched in October 2015.

As per the Cabinet approval given to the scheme in October 2015, the rural development department was expected to complete 16,000 km by March 2018. However, with only 1,100 km constructed so far, department officials say that they may be able to complete only another 2,500 km in the next five months, falling 12,400 km behind their original target.

Officials from the rural development department said the scheme was launched with an aim of improvement and strengthening of 30,000 km roads and construction of 730 km new roads across the state. The estimated cost for improvement and strengthening of roads was Rs 13,500 crore while it was Rs 328 crore for new roads. As per the plan, the 2,000 km roads were taken up for improvement in 2015 as only a few months were left for that financial year, said an official.

The officials further said that while it was expected to take 7,000 km roads each in 2016-17 and 2017-18, it actually decided to take roads with 5,600 km each year. “In all, the work has been commenced on 7,600 kilometer roads. Of this, improvement and strengthening of 1,100 kilometers roads have been completed so far. The remaining work is in progress. We are yet to take the work of new roads that will be taken up this year,” added the official.

Another official said the work of 2,500 km of the remaining 5,500 km is likely to be completed by May next year. “Though the scheme was launched in October 2015, the actual expenditure started only in 2016-17. Besides, the delay is caused primarily due to the monsoon, administrative process of approving the works and tendering,” said a senior official.

The official added that the process of giving administrative approvals for the works to be undertaken during this year is being carried out. “After the administrative approvals, the tenders will be floated and work orders will be issued,” said the official.

The senior official said that Rs 1,755 crore have been allocated for the scheme since it was launched. Of it, Rs 1,000 crore have been spent on the works, he added. The CMGSY scheme, launched on the lines of Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), is aimed at connecting the villages with new roads and improvement and strengthening of existing roads which are in bad conditions. The roads which are not covered under the PMGSY are taken up in the CMGSY.

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