Shettar blames Centre for delay in road project

Shettar blames Centre for delay in road project

This had resulted in a delay in the implementation of the Prime Minister‘s Gram Sadak Yojana, he said. Shettar told reporters that he had visited New Delhi two days ago to meet the new Union RD&PR Minister, Jairam Ramesh, seeking release of funds.

“As he is from Karnataka, I have requested him to favour the State. The department is hoping that the ministry will release the funds at least this year. Two ministers before him – C P Joshi and Vilas Rao Deshmukh – had also assured us that the funds will be released, but failed to do so”.

Shettar said the ministry, in its reply, had said that as per the guidelines, funds were no more being allocated for upgrading roads under the scheme, and that only those projects which involved construction of new roads connecting villages would get the funds.

“Karnataka has, however, finished laying new roads in the third phase of the project itself. By not releasing the funds, the ministry is doing grave injustice to the State,” he said.

Shettar said he had placed a proposal before Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda for laying roads under a new scheme called ‘Namma Grama Namma Rasthe’. Under this, 20 km of village roads would be laid in each Assembly constituency at a cost of Rs 28 lakh per km.

“The chief minister has shown keen interest in this project, and has promised that a budget allocation will be made for this shortly,” he said. Shettar said that after two years an additional 30 km of roads would be laid, making it 50 km of new roads per Assembly constituency. The department required a budget of Rs 1,500 crore for this, he said.

PDO problem
Shettar said his department would, from now on, fix the responsibility on chief executive officers (CEOs) and executive officers (EOs) in gram panchayats, if they are found not responding to complaints filed by panchayat development officers (PDOs).

“It has been decided that CEOs and EOs will be given the responsibility of making a note of the complaints or grievances of PDOs. If they ignore the complaints, they will be held accountable. The department is making concerted efforts to ensure that the elected representatives do not take PDOs for granted and mentally harass them. It is also taking steps to build the confidence of PDOs, whose morale is very low at the moment,” he said.

Shettar said the PDOs of Gulbarga who had threatened to resign en masse had been convinced against it.

“We have told them that attempting suicides or resigning from their posts are not the solutions to the problem. They have to be brave and face the situation; else, the elected representatives will always take them for granted.”

The minister said the problems between PDOs and elected representatives were found to be extensive in districts like Gulbarga, Tumkur, Mysore, Bidar, and Chitradurga.

The department was in the process of disqualifying gram panchayat members of Janwada village in Bidar where a female PDO officer had been harassed, he said, adding that more such cases were being identified and strict action was being taken against the guilty.

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