Modi govt’s rural roads plot enters third phase but states to fulfill targets that are past.

Launched by Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar Wednesday, the third phase of the rural road programme, aimed at bringing India’s villages nearer to hospitals, schools and markets, will build 1.25 lakh km of arterial roads across India. Around Rs 80,000 crore will be allocated to this project from 2019-20 to 2024-25, of which the central share will be Rs 53,000 crore.

The funding for PMGSY-III is shared in the ratio of 60:40, between the state and the centre. For the Northeast and Himalayan states, the ratio is 90:10.

In the 2019-20 financial, 50,097 kilometers of roads were to be constructed throughout the nation under PMGSY. But km has been completed up to now. In 2018-19 again, 49,042 kilometers of roads were constructed against the target of 57,700 km.

None of the Northeast states has been able to finish even 50 per cent of the goals set under the stage I and II of PMGSY, files accessed by ThePrint have shown.

One of the Northeastern states, Arunachal Pradesh is the worst performer, finishing just 7 per cent of its goal, followed by Meghalaya (8 per cent) and Sikkim (9 per cent).

Arunachal Pradesh constructed only 57 km of roads against the target of 787 km, while Meghalaya constructed 43 km against the target of 530 km, and Sikkim constructed 26 kilometers against 450 km.

Nagaland and assam performed better, with both countries finishing 21 and 36 per cent of their targets, respectively. Assam constructed 484 km against the target of 2,280 km, while Nagaland built 61 km against a target of 168 km.

The records also revealed that 3,316 km of road contracts for the eight Northeastern states are yet to be awarded. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur have the highest number of these contracts — 785 kilometers, 753 kilometers and 699 km, respectively.

Slow pace of road building

Northeastern states witnessed slower pace of road construction, especially. 482 km were built in 2019-20 while Assam constructed 725 km of roads in 2018-19.

The performance of under PMGSY Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh similarly fell compared to the prior year. The state constructed 210 kilometers in 2018-19, but only 58 km in the current fiscal. In Sikkim, only 26 kilometers were constructed in .

Senior officials at the rural development ministry said building got stuck in several Northeastern areas after builders left work midway due to inadequate scrutiny provided by the respective state authorities.

‘Some states also released money to the builders for whatever work they’d done. A high number of contractors in these states have already received more than Rs 1 lakh as payment regardless of the fact that no review was done by the state quality monitor,’ a senior rural development ministry official said.

The official added,’Care policy, which is largely supervised by states, is also poor since only 14 per cent of roads which have been scheduled for maintenance after five years of their construction have been revived.’

Fund crunch hits road building in Jammu & Kashmir.

Till November 2019, only Rs 8.47 crore was credited in the account of SRRDA against the requirement of Rs 49.77 crore. The sources cited delay in sending cost proposals by Jammu and Kashmir since the reason behind fund deficit.

Only 1,451 km of road building was completed up to now against the target of 8,113 km set in 2018. The date of completion was March 2019.

Structure of 161 bridges in Kashmir and Jammu are pending.