Bhubaneswar, Oct 30 (UNI) The construction and improvement of roads under the Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) could not be implemented in the Naxalite-hit districts of Orissa due to the threat by the Maoists.
Orissa Minister for Rural Development Biswa Bhushan Harichandan said the progress of the work was very slow as the Maoists have resorted to kidnapping and other threats in the area.
The Minister said road projects worth more than Rs 20 crore were pending due to the threat by the ultras.
He said the government faced major hurdles in the implementation of the project in Naxalite-prone districts of Malkangiri and Gajapati, adding that discussion was on with the Orissa Construction Corporation(OCC) and Orissa Bridge Construction Corporation(OBCC) to undertake the work in the violent-hit areas with police assistance.
Mr Harichandan said earlier the Border Roads Organisation had agreed to the state government's request to lay the roads in the Maoist dominated areas but later they went back on their words.
The minister said Orissa stands fourth in the utilisations of central fund in the implementation of the PMGSY projects in the country after Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Satisfied with the performance of the state government the empowered committee of the Union Rural Development Ministry has approved the project proposals of the state government for phase -VII for 1689 number of road projects covering a length of 6617 km at an estimated cost of Rs 2668.43 crore .
The amount, he said, was the highest allotted to any state under the PMGSY programmes in the country.
As many as 752 villages with more than thousand habitations and 909 villages having five hundred population would be provided with all weather connectivity on completion of these projects, the Minister said.
Mr Harichandan said till the end of last September, the union government had sanctioned Rs 3342.54 crore for the PMGSY projects in Orissa. Out of which the state had received Rs 2351.48 crore and utilised Rs 1895.08 crore. As many as 2236 number of roads with length of 7432 km had been completed.
The Minister said during 2007-08 the union government had released Rs 546.83 crore out of which Rs 258.76 crore had already been spent by the September end this year.