Road building plan hits a roadblock
The home and road ministries seem to be on a collision course over the latter’s decision to pull out of the government’s big ticket plan to build roads in naxal-affected districts, reports Moushumi Das Gupta.delhi Updated: Apr 17, 2013 01:11 IST
The home and road ministries seem to be on a collision course over the latter’s decision to pull out of the government’s big ticket plan to build roads in naxal-affected districts.
In a move that is set to jeopardize the Centre’s plan to fight Maoists, the road ministry — citing acute resource constraint — has written to the home ministry about its inability to undertake the second phase of building 5,624 km stretch of roads passing through some of the worst affected areas of 34 districts in the red corridor.
The road ministry has now asked the home ministry to take over the Phase II and get it implemented through respective state agencies. In a letter to home secretary RK Singh, the road secretary Vijay Chibber has said that the ministry’s main job is to build and maintain highways in the country. With a cut in its gross budgetary support, the ministry is already hard pressed to keep the highways in traffic-worthy condition.
As against its requirement of R16,000 crore for the road building program in naxal areas, the finance ministry has allocated just R5,400 crore. The road ministry says this is just about enough to complete Phase- I work. It had sought an additional R9,400 crore for Phase-II .
The ministry is already building 5477 km of roads as part of Phase I of the programme launched in 2009. Together with Phase II, it would have resulted in a total road network of over 11,000 km across eight states hit by naxal violence by 2017.
Of the 5624 km in phase II, the ministry has said that it will only build 109 km of roads which falls on national highway stretch.