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Friday, December 16, 2011

Low priority given to roads, facilities in border areas

Poor utilisation of funds by BJP Govt
Dehradun, December 16
Improving rural connectivity by spreading a network of roads and providing facilities to villages in the border areas continue to be accorded the lowest priority by the BJP Government in Uttarakhand, leading to poor utilisation of funds earmarked for the pradhan mantri gram sadak yojana (PMGSY) and the border area development programme (BADP).
Despite setting a target of building 650 km of roads under the pradhan mantri gramin sadak yojana, the government has just about managed to build a mere 257 km of roads. Against the available funds of Rs 39,744 lakh, only Rs 10,551 lakh were spent, completing a mere 27 per cent of the works earmarked under the PMGSY till November for this financial year. The PMGSY programme is a Central Government-funded scheme.
“The progress under the scheme has been slow due to absence of environment clearances as a majority of the roads fall under the forest area, and environment clearance from the Central Government is required,” said Vijaya Barthwal, Rural Development Minister.
If the non-existent roads in the villages speak volumes about the BJP Government’s “reluctance” to spend money where it is needed most, five years down the line the government has even has made a mockery of Border Area Development Programme (BADP).
Against the available budget of Rs 4037 lakh till November this year, the government managed to spend only Rs 666 lakh. According to the terms of the programme, the amount sanctioned under the programme would lapse with the model code of conduct coming into place shortly. The Central Government-sponsored scheme stipulates a share of the Centre and state in the ratio of 75:25.
The BADP is under way in the districts of Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Champawat, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar. The BADP was started during the Seventh Plan with the twin objectives of promoting balanced development in sensitive border areas.
Allocations are made for carrying out programmes under education, health and rural development for the earmarked districts. The Central Government-sponsored scheme has several checks and balances. In 2009-2010, the Central Government had not released funds after the state government failed to utilise the funds properly.

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