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Crores from Ramesh for rural Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 22: Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh today announced a set of new road projects for Odisha under the Pradhanmantri Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) while asserting that the Congress-led UPA government does not discriminate between states while sanctioning developmental projects.

The project, which involves the construction of 3,143km of roads in 18 districts of the state, would be executed at an estimated cost of Rs 1,498 crore. Some of these districts comprise areas where Maoists have been active for several years.

Ramesh, who made the announcement through a letter to chief minister Naveen Patnaik, said that in the recent months his ministry had made three separate sanctions for construction of roads in Odisha under PMGSY. While one of these projects was for the construction of 2,498km of roads at a cost of Rs 994 crore, another project worth Rs 1008 crore envisaged laying of roads for a length of 2,646 km.

Yet another project for taking up road work over a length of 1,052km at a cost of Rs 473 crore was also approved by the rural development ministry. “The pace of clearance under PMGSY should convince anybody that contrary to the propaganda carried out by some chief ministers, UPA does not discriminate in the matter of developmental projects and programmes,” said Ramesh in his missive.

The minister said that as far as the Union rural development ministry was concerned, Odisha, given the favourable way it has been treated, had got a virtual bonanza from the Centre.

“In fact, in the last one year, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Odisha has got a ‘bonanza’ under PMGSY from the Centre in spite of the Centre being constantly under attack from the state level leader,” said Ramesh, hoping that Odisha was taking a “systematic” approach towards the implementation of rural development projects in the state.