Uttar Pradesh is trying to corner the Centre on damaged national highways in the state, putting up signboards telling people to blame the Union government for the bumpy rides.
The state public works department (PWD) has so far placed 43 such signboards along damaged portions of the highways that are under the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). According to state government officials, 315km of national highways are in a poor shape and Rs 266 crore will be needed for relaying and repairs.
Of the 6,681 km highways in the state, the NHAI manages 3,503 km and the PWD 3,178 km.
The signboards, which target the Union road transport ministry, tell people the Centre is supposed to fund the repair/relay work because it owns these roads.
PWD minister Nasimuddin Siddiqui has written to the road transport ministry about the poor condition of the highways under NHAI and asked the Centre to "hand over the roads to the Uttar Pradesh government if it cannot manage them".
The state government has even prepared a film on the damaged roads and sent the CD to the Centre.
This is not the first time UP is at odds with the Centre over roads. In March last year, a bridge over the Ganga at Dalmau in Rae Bareli, constructed with central road fund at a cost of Rs 32 crore, had triggered a game of one-upmanship between the Centre and the state. The state government got the bridge inaugurated before the then road transport minister RPN Singh could arrive.