The Telegraph
Sunday , October 7 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Speaker letter on poor roads

Ranchi, Oct. 6: “Jagi kismat, hua rajya khushhal, bicha hai achhi sadako ka jal” — cries out hoardings mounted on gateways leading to the state capital in praise of the so-called smooth roads of Jharkhand. Assembly Speaker C.P. Singh begs to differ.

Peeved about the poor condition of roads, Singh, also a BJP MLA, today shot a satire-laced letter to principal secretary of state road construction department Rajbala Verma, drawing her attention to problems faced by commuters everyday.

“Either the sayings on the hoardings to welcome visitors to the state capital should be removed or the road construction department should fill up the potholes immediately,” Singh said in the two-page letter.

In an acerbic comment, Singh also said that it did not seem that Verma had to go through the agony of commuting on these roads. “It is hard to know the facts sitting in the air-conditioned rooms of secretariat building,” was the other barb.

“If the city roads are so dilapidated, then what to say about the roads in remote areas,” the Speaker wrote.

The Speaker particularly mentioned the stretches from Kutchery Chowk to Lalpur Chowk; Lalpur Chowk to Dangra Toli Chowk; near Machhli Ghar adjacent to Raj Bhavan; near Nagababa khatal, Kadru; railway over-bridge, Bariatu road between Booty More and Karam Toli Chowk; Kanta Toli Chowk-Bahu Bazar; and Bahubazar-Sujata Chowk among others.

“I and even the common masses fail to understand why the government is not paying attention to improving the roads even as the mandarins and powers that be claim to be attracting big contractors,” Singh said.

However, the expenditure figures of the road construction department suggest otherwise.

According to figures till September, the government has already spent a whopping Rs 367 crore for revamp of state highways and major district roads. This is under the state’s plan budget allocation for highways and major district roads, which is pegged at Rs 1,650 crore for the 2012-13 fiscal. Another Rs 200 crore is earmarked under non-plan head, which will be used to undertake emergency road repairs.