Observing that corruption in road construction projects in the past "has spread like cancer", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said there was need for "quality benchmarks and quality assurance" for rural roads as in the case of National Highways.
"A major reason for poor quality roads is corruption and the lack of quality assurance," he said inaugurating a national conference on rural roads.
Singh said though crores of rupees were invested every year on road construction and maintenance, but with every monsoon the condition of the roads worsened.
Lauding the Rural Development Ministry's initiative to address the issue, the Prime Minister hoped that both the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and Bharat Nirman could be implemented "without this affliction and in a transparent manner".
Singh said there was need to evolve cost effective technologies for construction of rural roads technologies which are low cost and use locally available materials and also to make road construction as labour intensive as possible.
He described regular maintenance and upkeep of rural roads as necessary pre-condition for sustaining the benefits that roads bring to rural communities.
"While we make every effort to mobilise resources for launching new construction projects, we display a remarkably niggardly attitude when it comes to routine maintenance," he said.