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Rural roads programme on track

Santosh Tiwari  |  New Delhi 

Unlike the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), under the UPA government appears to be on track, with better utilisation of funds by majority of the states.

The programme was launched on December 25, 2000, as a fully funded, centrally sponsored scheme to provide all-weather road connectivity in rural areas. Habitations targeted should have a population of at least 500 in the plains and at least in difficult terrain. A total of 136,451 habitations were so targeted.

It also has an upgradation component, with a target to upgrade 368,000 km of existing roads, to ensure full farm-to-market connectivity.

According to the latest figures, about 419,000 km of road projects to benefit 107,974 habitations have been cleared, with an estimated cost of Rs 118,298 crore.

A sum of Rs 76,974 crore has been released to the states and about Rs 74,769 crore spent. So far, 300,786 km of road length has been completed and new connectivity provided to 73,907 habitations. Work on another 118,205 km is in full swing.(Click for table)

Since 2005, the priorities of PMSGY have been changed, with rural roads being identified as one of the six components of Bharat Nirman. Under the latter, the UPA government has set a goal to provide connectivity to all villages with a population of at least 1,000 persons (500 in the case of hilly and tribal areas) with an all-weather road by 2012. A total of 54,648 habitations are proposed to be provided new connectivity under Bharat Nirman, involving construction of 146,185 km of rural roads.

In addition to new connectivity, Bharat Nirman envisages upgradation and renewal of 194,131 km of existing rural roads. Up to December 2010, 38,320 habitations have been connected by constructing 113,860 km.

Besides, projects for connecting 15,250 habitations are at different stages of completion and 215,015 km of existing roads have been upgraded, against the target of 194,000 km.

During 2010-11, as much as 26,388 km of all-weather road was completed up to December 2010 and expenditure of Rs 9,128 crore incurred. Total funds released under PMGSY up to January 24, 2011, amounted to Rs 13,241 crore. New connectivity has been provided to 3,527 habitations. In 2009-10, PMSGY had been allocated Rs 8,535 crore.

The problem areas include inadequate institutional arrangements and limited contracting capacity in some of the states.

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First Published: Tue, February 22 2011. 00:45 IST