Chief minister Hemant Soren during the review meeting at Project Building in Ranchi on Monday. Telegraph picture
Ranchi, Dec. 9: Chief minister Hemant Soren today pulled up the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for poor upkeep of thoroughfares in the state, and directed the road construction department to take up the matter seriously with the Centre.
Also, the chief minister categorically said if NHAI failed to carry out its responsibilities properly, the state would be compelled to take up repair of highways on its own. “Roads should be motorable,” he clarified.
Hemant was chairing a review meeting of the road department at Project Building.
He directed the road department officials to prepare a detailed project report for repair of the NH-33 at the earliest and float short-notice tenders to begin groundwork.
Expressing strong reservations against the NHAI’s style of functioning, Hemant observed that the condition of NH-33 was pitiable, especially the stretch between Ranchi and Bahragora. NHAI is responsible for the maintenance of the highway.
An NHAI representative, who was present at the meeting, said that patchwork on the stretch would be completed within 15 days, but Hemant was not convinced.
The chief minister also slammed the road construction department officials for not following his earlier order to set up check posts on various important roads.
Notably, the state government has decided to set up nine check posts on inter-state borders by March 2014.
The chief minister also directed the road construction department to prepare a five-year perspective plan and work accordingly.
Also, Hemant asked the department officials to prepare a database that will maintain details such as when a road was built, later on when it was repaired etc.
In her report to the chief minister, principal secretary (road) Rajbala Verma mentioned that 45 per cent of the total budgetary allocation had already been spent and the remaining amount would be utilised towards the end of the fiscal.
She added that the department might need more funds to complete pending projects.
She also stressed the need to involve coal, power and steel companies in road construction under the corporate social responsibility programme.
Planning and development department principal secretary D.K. Tiwari and chief minister’s principal secretary Sukhdeo Singh were also present at the meeting.