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Rural road construction takes a backseat

india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 05:20 IST

Several states have shown very poor performance in rural road connectivity one of the components of Bharat Nirman, a flagship initiative of the central government.

Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has in a letter written to nine Chief Ministers urged them to "personally review" and take "corrective measures" to achieve the targets fixed for the current year.

While Jharkhand has completed only 5.22 per cent of the new road links for the year 2006-07, none of the nine states has achieved even 50 per cent of the target.

Singh has written letters to Chief Ministers, of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Chhattisgarh's performance is slightly better with 14 per cent of its target of new link roads completed 613.68 kilometers of a target of 4367.61 kilometers till date.

The best performance has been that of Rajasthan out of these nine states but that too falls short of 50 per cent. While the target is 3629.29 kilometers the new link roads which have been completed till date stand at 1507.64 kilometers which is 41.54 per cent.

Orissa has completed 36.50 per cent of its target for 2006-07 having constructed 724.80 kilometers of roads against a target of 1985.61 kilometers.

Madhya Pradesh has constructed just 1309.27 kilometers which is just 21.24 per cent of the target of 6162.4 kilometre. West Bengal too has just constructed 18.94 per cent (487.31 kilometers) of the target of 2527.77 kilometre, Uttar Pradesh has done better constructing 603 kilometers of new link roads against a target of 2390.63 kilometers over 25 per cent.

In the north east Assam has completed 471 kilometers of new link roads which is just 16 per cent of the target which was 2864 kilometers.

States were not meeting their expenditure target. Assam had a target of Rs 875 crore it had spent only Rs 276.23 crore, similarly other states like Chhattisgarh (Rs 295.44 crore )of Rs 952 crore, Jharkhand (Rs 28.32 crore) of Rs 91 crore, Orissa (Rs 309.72 crore ) of Rs 950 crore, Madhya Pradesh (Rs 490.82 crore) of Rs 1113 crore, West Bengal (Rs 199.69 crore) of Rs 648 crore, Uttar Pradesh (Rs 416.47 crore ) of Rs 1,099 crore, Rajasthan (Rs 523.18 crore) of Rs 600 crore.

Expressing concern at the fact that states were not meeting their expenditure target Singh has told these states that unless they "enhance their absorption capacity" and project management capacity there is a "serious risk" that the available funds may not be utilised fully.

He pointed out that a special window in NABARD is being set up during the current year for raising Rs 4000 crore to finance rural roads under Bharat Nirman which would supplement budget outlay of Rs 5,225.62 crore.