Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 19:
The Odisha government on Thursday resorted to its time tested tactics of blaming the Centre – this time for the delay in release of funds creating hurdles in the completion of many road projects in the state.
The ruling BJD government accused the Centre of not extending the required cooperation in prividing connectivity to all villages in the state.
“Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is a cent per cent Centrally funded scheme. We are dependent on the Centre for funds. But we are not getting required support from the Centre for it,” said Rural Development Minister Badri Narayan Patra while replying to a debate on an adjournment motion notice by the Opposition on massive corruption and delay in the execution of PMGSY projects.
In a bid to justify his claim, Patra pointed out that though the Centre has sanctioned rural road projects worth Rs 17,814 crore so far, it has released only Rs 11,942 crore, a shortfall of Rs 5872 crore.
“The Centre is yet to provide us Rs 5,872 crore towards sanctioned projects and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has drawn the attention of the Prime Minster twice on the issue,” said the minister.
The state government had demanded Rs 1,800 crore for construction of 4,000 km road during 2014-15 fiscal, but received only Rs 1,051.50 crore, Patra stated. The state had already spent Rs 1,281 crore towards the PMGSY scheme, he said.
While rejecting opposition’s allegation that there was massive corruption and delay in the PMGSY projects, Patra said there was no question of corruption in the Naveen Patnaik regime.
Addressing the concern of the Opposition members, the minister said non-availability of funds at the appropriate time was the reason behind it.
Earlier, Congress member and Opposition chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati alleged that the state government had failed to meet the quality, quantity and timing of PMGSY projects.
BJP members rued that labourers engaged in the PMGSY projects were being denied timely payments.