| Rural works minister Vrishin Patel addresses a news conference in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Patna, Aug. 5: State rural works department minister Vrishin Patel slammed the Centre for not providing financial assistance to the state government for carrying out projects in rural areas.
Addressing the media at Soochna Bhawan today, Patel said: “The role played by central agencies in implementing projects under rural works department is very poor. Due to poor financial assistance the department is unable to achieve targets.”
The department is engaged in developmental works like rural link roads, soil conservation schemes, and construction of suspension bridges.
The state government had sought for Rs 9,000 crore for building roads and bridges. However, the state was provided with only Rs 2,768 crore.
Principal secretary, Shashi Shekhar Sharma, said: “Building roads is a continuous process. Due to paucity of funds, roads are not completed as contractors refuse to work without proper payments.”
Sharma said, despite facing difficulty the state government has constructed 16,322.9km of roads in rural areas with an estimate cost of Rs 7,563 under various schemes such as Chief Minister Gram Sadak Yojna, Nabard and Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojna.
With the aim to reach rural hinterland, that has a vast population of scheduled castes and tribes, the department has initiated special schemes for constructing roads in such areas.
Patel said: “Under the state government’s ambitious Mukhya Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, 4,067.88km of roads have been constructed at the cost of Rs 2,976 crore.”
Patel also said that for the fiscal year 2010-11, the government has earmarked Rs 260 crore for constructing roads in rural area having population below 500.
Sharma also said in 2009-10, the department spent Rs 300 crore for maintaining roads and bridges in rural areas. In an effort to strengthen itself, it has also appointed personnel in post that had remained vacant for long.
The department has taken special initiative in constructing roads in border areas such as West Champaran, East Champaran, Supol, Kishanganj, Araria, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, and others.
About 58.57 km of roads have been constructed at a cost of Rs 18.42 crore. Apart from this the department has constructed 20 panchayat bhawans in these areas.