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IIT to test rural roads in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 28: IIT-Bhubaneswar will assess the impact of the Centre’s rural connectivity scheme — Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana — in Odisha.

A decision to this effect was taken by the governing body of the Odisha State Rural Road Agency, which met here today. The central scheme, launched in Odisha in 2000, is in the 12th year of its implementation and is likely to continue for another 10 years.

“There is a need to assess the impact of the programme in achieving rural connectivity in the state. The assessment can be used to better the implementation of the scheme,” said the state’s rural development minister Bikram Keshari Arukh, who chaired the governing body meeting.

The cost of the impact assessment study will be come from the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) administrative fund, he said. The connectivity status of the state and progress of PMGSY were discussed in detail. It was revealed from the review that before the implementation of the PMGSY in April 2000, out of a total 50,099 habitations in the state, 21,076 were connected by roads and 29,023 were left unconnected.

Since the inception of the central scheme, 13,673 habitations out of 29,023 unconnected habitations were sanctioned by the Union rural development ministry till November this year.

Besides, 4,703 unconnected habitations with a population of 250 and above located in Maoist-affected districts and habitations with a population of 500 and above in other districts were covered under the Integrated Action Plan.

Apart from this, another 7,065 unconnected habitations are likely to be included in PMGSY if relaxed norms (100 population and above for Maoist-affected districts and 250 population and above for other districts) are approved by the Centre. Another 3582 habitations, which are not eligible under the programme, will remain unconnected.

So far, funds worth Rs 14,422.28 have been sanctioned and Rs 9,629.55 crore have been received. Of this, Rs 9,157.14 crore (95.09 per cent) has been used. Of the sanctioned length of 39,213.98km, roads of total length 24,243.96km have been completed.

The delay in completion of the PMGSY roads was also discussed. The people attending the meeting were informed that junior engineers were over burdened with various other work and not in a position to devote full time to the implementation of PMGSY.