The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Funds flow on progress path
- Centre releases 466cr for roads

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, June 28: The usual UPA-NDA spat missing, the Union rural development ministry has released in one go Rs 466 crore towards Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), granting full marks to the Naveen Patnaik government.

Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh during a video-conferencing with the media in Bhubaneswar today said the money was released on Wednesday.

While the RJD leader did not spare the NDA’s performance in the past, he said the Orissa government led by the Biju Janata Dal was performing well. He appreciated the government for its online monitoring and e-governance progress.

Singh, however, was in for a shock when journalists of Bhubaneswar told him that Patnaik had come up with his model of a rural development scheme — Orissa Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme — on the pretext that “the Centre is neglecting us”.

Singh defended saying that Patnaik, who had called on him early this week, did not tell him anything of that sort.

He added that the Centre was not neglecting any state and such allegations were baseless. “There will be no dearth of funds for the successful implementation of various central schemes of the Union rural development ministry,” he assured.

He told the media that Rs 1,684 crore had been sanctioned for Orissa under PMGSY, out of which Rs 466 crore has now been released.

“Under PMGSY scheme, roads for 12,539 km have been approved by the Centre for Orissa, of which construction on 6,656 km has been completed,” he added.

The Union minister expressed satisfaction over the implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the state. At the same time he also made it clear that no state could give a different name to a central scheme since it is governed by a central law.

Singh said the Sampurna Gramin Rozgar Yojana would be implemented in those districts not covered under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

A sum of Rs 46.91 crore had been sanctioned for Orissa under the SGRY for the current fiscal, of which Rs 34.25 crore had been released and Rs 3.60 crore utilised so far, he said.

The minister taking a dig at the NDA, said: “During its four-year tenure, the NDA government spent Rs 6,600 crore while the UPA has spent two-and-a-half times of that amount”.

He noted that in the coastal districts of Orissa sanitation could not be successful with conventional methods due to flooding. “The Centre is helping villagers to have toilets,” he added.

Singh promised that technology would be used according to the geography of the area.

The leader from Bihar said those who had failed in rural development lost elections. He attributed the Congress losses in Punjab and Uttarakhand to these states’ failure in utilising rural development funds.

The minister also informed that the “below poverty line (BPL)” census for 2002 was over but clarifications have been sought from the planning commission on the number of BPL families in “adjusted share”.

The state government had requested the Centre that selection of Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) beneficiaries for 2007-08 be allowed from the permanent IAY waitlist prepared by the state on the basis of BPL census 1997 as, the state administration feels, the 2002 census is incomplete.

Singh said he has accepted the request.

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