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Hurdles for rural road project

Kendrapara, June 26: The centrally-funded Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has been hit here by alleged indifferent attitude of government departments.

Relocation of electric poles, land acquisition and forest clearance are emerging as major hurdles in the way of the project.

The alleged indifference on part of departments such as the Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu), the land acquisition wing of revenue administration and forests has virtually stalled many of the ongoing PMGSY projects.

“Twenty-five PMGSY projects worth Rs 40 crore are being carried out in the district. But, majority of these projects have failed to make much headway for factors which are beyond our control,” said Deb Prasad Dash, executive engineer of the rural works department.

While the land acquisition issue has halted road work in some areas, the delay in relocation of electric poles has adversely affected the work progress. In some projects at Rajnagar, the mandatory forest clearance has proved a stumbling block.

With electric poles coming in the way of widening roads, the rural works division sought for their relocation. However, Cesu has refused either to bear the cost of relocation or press into service its manpower, and consequently, several PMGSY projects have come to a grinding halt.

The crux of the problem is that there was little in terms of financial sanction for electric pole relocation under this central project, said a senior official of rural works department. The Golarhaat-Chotti and Golarhaat-Mattiapada road project under Derabish block is lying incomplete because of land acquisition problems.

Also, the almost-complete Jadupur-Mahanangala project is lying incomplete because of land acquisition problems in some patches.

“The administration is aware of the problems of the PMGSY projects. The officials concerned have been directed to expeditiously sort out the matter with the rural works department,” said collector Pradipta Kishore Pattnaik.

Electric pole relocation and land acquisition issues apart, extortion from contactors and farmers by local goons have also impeded the pace of progress of the PMGSY projects. Kendrapara has become a hub of crime syndicates and with the gangsters on an extortion spree, there are also several reports of contractors shying away from the tender bid of these projects.