`Coordinate with Home Ministry on road projects in Red area`
New Delhi: Dismayed by slow execution of road projects and non-utilisation of funds in Left-wing extremist-hit states, a parliamentary panel has asked the
Transport Ministry to coordinate with Ministry of Home Affairs for successful implementation of schemes.
We are "at a loss" to see low utilisation of funds allocated for eight affected states, the Standing Committee on Transport, chaired by Sitaram Yechury, said.
"The committee is of the opinion that the ministry should coordinate with the Ministry of Home Affairs for the successful implementation of this project. The state governments involved may also be consulted on a regular basis," the panel said.
The Cabinet had in February 2009 approved Rs 7,300 crore projects for upgradation of 5,477 km (kilometres) of road network in 34 districts of eight Left-wing extremism affected states, including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.
Barely 118 km of road projects under the programme could be executed in a year`s span in the affected states.
The panel`s observations follow similar concerns expressed by a parliamentary consultative committee in February this year, which felt the need for extending high security cover to contractors, executing projects under "high risk" zone in the country.
It had advocated higher security coverage for contractors working in high risk zones -- especially in 1,457 km stretch out of 5,477 km projects approved in Naxal-infested states.
The consultative committee had found that there was poor response from contractors, especially, in the districts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra due to severe security risks involved.
Of the total roads in high risk zone, the maximum 1,158 kilometers fell in Chhattisgarh.
The projects as per the Cabinet approval are to be completed by March 2013. However, only 118 Km roads could be upgraded to two lanes in the last one year at a cost of Rs 396 crore," as per the available information.
The consultative committee had stressed that developers needed protection for carrying out work in 2,261 Km of roads that face Naxal problem, while the work could be executed in the remaining, lesser affected 1,759 Km without much security back-up.
Of the total 5,477 km length for upgradation, 1,126 Km fall under National Highways category, and the rest under state roads.
All the scheduled road projects are likely to be awarded by June 2011. So far, contracts for only 3,354 km have been awarded.
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