Bhubaneswar, Sept. 21: Commuters can now have a say in how road projects are carried out in the state.
If you think road signs are not adequate on a particular stretch or you need more toilet facilities, the state government is all ears. And it will act on your feedback too.
On a first of its kind initiative in the state, six road corridors under the Odisha State Roads Projects of the public works department (PWD) are following a feedback mechanism for better monitoring and quality control of the projects. The feedback mechanism will also take into consideration roadside amenities as required by the people.
Of the six corridors, four - Bhawanipatna-Khariar, Chandbali-Bhadrak-Anandpur, Berhampur-Taptapani and Jagatpur-Chandabali - are being constructed with assistance from World Bank. The fifth, the Sambalpur-Rourkela stretch, is being developed as part of a public-private partnership project and the last, the Athgarh-Narsinghpur stretch, is being constructed with funds made available by the state. The total length of the six corridors is 555km.
P.C. Nayak, a senior engineer with the World Bank project of PWD said: "The concept is being used in the state for the first time. There will be three different surveys at different times: a baseline survey before work starts on a project, a midterm survey to monitor the work and an end line survey once the work is over. This will change the concept of road construction mechanics in the state and may be made mandatory for all major projects in the future."
Sources in the PWD sources told The Telegraph that while the six roads being constructed under the state roads project would need Rs 1,141 crore to be completed, the three-phase survey would require an investment of Rs 69.88 lakh.
"In future all roads under different engineering organisations in Odisha may have to listen to feedback given by the public. While the survey will list 48 parameters, there are nine major ones, which will act as the deciding factors. All these parameters will be collected through field surveys in three phases so that the executing agencies can get the feedback and ask the contractors where to adopt the changes and suggestions," Nayak said.
The major nine parameters include queries on travel comfort, wayside amenities, travelling time and money spent, road geometry and quality, signage and markings, traffic arrangement in war zones, safety and security, preparedness to emergency situations and environmental impact.
Marketing and Development Research Associates (MDRA), a Delhi-based market research organisation, has been given the responsibility to conduct the survey, called the Road User Satisfaction Survey.
MDRA research manager Sunil Kumar said: "The baseline survey was done in 2013 in which 3,830 people were interviewed. It was done before the work started. In October and November, the midterm survey will start and will cover 3,841 respondents."
"The people to be surveyed will be asked to give their opinions, suggestions and any new proposals. After the PWD receives the survey report, we will ask the agencies/contractors to do the needful," Nayak said.
"Environmental assessment in road projects has become necessary as, in the past, construction of several major roads and national highways in the state encountered severe flooding due to a lack of proper environmental assessment. It is a good thing that it has been included in the state roads project work," said environment expert Bijay Mishra.