Centre raps Karnataka govt again for not releasing funds

The Centre has again ticked off the Karnataka government for not releasing fund for the maintenance of roads built in the state under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) during the current financial year.

The Union Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has written to the state government, pointing out that although the Karnataka Rural Road Development Agency (KRRDA) required Rs 35.74 crore in 2013-14 for the maintenance of roads built under the PMGSY, no fund has been released to it so far.

“Keeping in view the critical importance of protecting the PMGSY investment in the rural road sector in your state, I would urge that the requisite funds for maintenance be immediately credited in the SRRDA account,” wrote MoRD secretary L C Goyal to state Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee on Thursday.

The MoRD had earlier written to the state government in August 2013 seeking immediate release of maintenance funds to the KRRDA.

Goyal wrote to Mukherjee after reviewing the progress in utilisation of the maintenance fund on the basis of the report submitted by the state for the quarter that ended in December.

The PMGSY was launched in 2000 as a fully funded centrally sponsored scheme intended to provide all-weather road connectivity in rural areas.

The programme envisages connecting all habitations with a population of 500 persons and above in the plain areas and 250 persons and above in the hills, desert and tribal areas as well as in the districts affected by Left-wing extremism. Goyal wrote that the huge investment made by the Centre to implement the PMGSY in the state would be useful only if the roads built under the scheme were “maintained in good condition”.

Each PMGSY road is covered by a five-year maintenance contract, which is inked along with the contract for construction with the same contractors. The funds to service the maintenance contracts are to be budgeted by the state governments and placed at the disposal of the State Rural Road Development Agencies or SRRDAs in a separate account.

The KRRDA was to receive 50 per cent of the maintenance fund from the state government by May 31 last year, and the remaining by November 30. It had in fact spent Rs 15.29 crore for the maintenance of rural roads built under the scheme, utilising the Rs 25 crore it had received in 2011-12.

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