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Formulate policy for proper upkeep of rural roads, Centre asks Odisha Govt

 The Centre has asked the Odisha government to formulate ‘rural road maintenance policy’ to ensure better upkeep of roads in villages across Odisha.

The Union Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has written to the State government in this regard, urging to immediately formulate the policy in the interest of rural areas across Odisha. Union Minister Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar has said that collaboration between World Bank (WB) and International Labour Organization (ILO) has already been done to implement Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in Odisha.

During last three years, over five lakh kilometres of rural roads have been constructed in the country. In Odisha over 28,000 kilometres of road have been constructed in rural zones and now regular maintenance is needed and for that a well structured policy for rural road maintenance is required, said Tomar in a letter to the State government.

In fact, maintenance of these roads is the mandate of the State government as after construction of rural roads with PMGSY funds, maintenance becomes the prerogative of the State government.

Union Secretary for Rural Development, Amarjit Sinha has also underscored the requirement of a proper policy of maintenance of these rural roads as these infrastructures provide economic impetus to the villagers to bring their produce to nearby markets. While WB and ILO are engaged in Odisha for last three years for implementation of PMGSY, these international organizations are also harping upon regular maintenance of these roads, so that people can reap benefit of access on a continuous basis.

MoRD has also formulated and circulated among all the States a standard template for “rural road maintenance policy” and a proper guidance note as to how to formulate and implement the proposed policy.

However till date, the State government has not formulated the policy. While MoRD is insisting on such a policy, the standing committee of rural development has also underscored the need for such framework.

The committee is of view that existence of such a policy would ensure that rural roads remain functional for their entire designated life span, which is not happening in absence of a framework. Experts in rural road sector feel that there are lots of unconnected dots in the policy formulated by the MoRD.

While there is little funding for maintenance of these roads by the Union government, working out a policy framework, which has been drawn by WB and ILO, lacks practical approach. There is a mismatch between ground zero situation and lot of gaps are needed to be addressed.

Under this backdrop, the State government is reviewing the scenario and soon will come up with the policy framework, said official sources.


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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