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Slo-mo rural roads upset team

Ranchi, Nov. 29: The Centre is concerned about the poor progress of road projects in Jharkhand and Bihar under a prime ministerial scheme, prompting a review team member to threaten a funds roll back.

“If these problems persist, I think we need to relook the allocations of these two states from next year,” said I. K. Pateriya, the director technical, National Rural Road Development Authority (NRRDA) and member of the team led by Union rural development secretary L.C Goyal.

Goyal, who has been touring Jharkhand for the last three days, was given a litany of excuses by state officials for not being able to meet deadlines for projects under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

These included a prolonged monsoon, security issues, and strikes by appointed contractors and consultants.

According to rural works department principal secretary Santosh Kumar Satpathy, Jharkhand was to construct 2,000 km of roads under PMGSY this fiscal and that Rs 850 crore had been earmarked under phase XI of the scheme.

“I am targeting to spend more than Rs 850-Rs 900 crore by year-end as things are finally falling in place,” he said, hoping to speed up work in the next three months.

Apart from Pateriya, among the others present at today’s meeting were N. C. Solanki, director projects, NRRDA; Rajesh Bhushan, joint secretary cum director, NNRDA; B. Rajendra, secretary, Bihar rural works department; and other office bearers from Bengal and Odisha.

Goyal and his team have already toured Bengal and Odisha. In Jharkhand, they visited Saranda in West Singhbhum and Angara block of Ranchi district. Tomorrow, they are scheduled to hold another meeting, followed by field visits to nearby areas to monitor quality of construction.

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