Joint Committee to be formed to explore possibilities of road connectivity to remaining panchayats

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Shimla, Aug 31- A review meeting of Public Works Department was held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur here today.

Chief Minister said that Zone wise targets should be fixed and circle wise monthly reviews must be done to ensure time bound completion of various road projects. He said that resource based planning must also be initiated by actively involving contractors. He also directed the officers to ensure completion of non bituminous works in time well before suitable tarring season. 

Jai Ram Thakur said that Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna has proved boon to the people of State in providing better road connectivity in the rural areas. He said that out of the total sanctioned length of 21860 kms under PMGSY, 16771 kms have been completed and 5059 kms were still pending.  He said that presently the State was second State in term of achieving the targets under the PMGSY in the country. 

Chief Minister said that presently out of the total 3226 panchayats, 3162 panchayats have been connected with motorable road and work was in progress to connect 29 panchayats and 15 panchayats have been connected with jeepable road. He suggested formation of Joint Committee comprising of Sub Divisional Magistrate, Divisional Forest Officer, Executive Engineer and concerned Pradhan to explore possibilities to provide connectivity to the remaining Panchayat Headquarters. 

He said that roads were mirror of development of any state as well as the country. He said that stress must be laid on construction of quality roads and laxity would be viewed seriously. He said that strict action would be taken against the erring officers and contractors. He said that since the working season was limited in several parts of the State, therefore, stress must be laid on expediting work of various road and bridge projects. He said that priorities must be fixed and work should be carried forward immediately.

Chief Minister said that the State PWD has adopted CPWD manual and SOP instead of Punjab PWD Code to update, simplify work procedures and to be in time with present times. He that this would ensure award of works within 51 days, by doing away with practice of negotiation with contractors. 

While expressing concern over the delay in process from sanction to award, Chief Minister also felt the need to reduce the time of award of works. He said that although the average time taken from sanction to award of works including lockdown period for PMGSY-II (2019-20) was 5.8 months which was quite less than the national average for the last 5 years of 7.1 months, but still it should be further reduced. He said that the PMGSY-III envisages upgradation of existing roads that connects Rural Agriculture Markets, Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals. He said that under this 3125 kms roads would be upgraded with 90 percent central funding. 

Chief Minister said that special emphasis must be laid on annual maintenance of roads in the State. He said that target has been fixed to maintain 2629.46 kms roads during the current financial year. He said that non lapsable funds to the tune of Rs 40 crore were available, thus focus must be on utilization of Central funds so that the State could receive  next Tranche of funds. He said that eight road projects were being implemented by the NHAI which were at different stage of completion. He said that four NHAI projects were yet to be awarded and were at DPR stage. He said that modified Beam Crash Barriers have been installed in 63 kms length road and polymer modified bitumen have been used on 116 kms National Highways for periodical renewal.

 Jai Ram Thakur said that the Union Government has accorded, in principle, approval to 69 National Highways having total length of 4312 kilometers for the State. He said that out of this, DPRs have been prepared for 63 NHs with a total length of 4031 kms, out of which DPRs in respect of 58 NH were under preparation after approval of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. He said that Draft Alignment Report regarding 57 NHs have been submitted to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. 

 Chief Minister expressed concern over the lack of proper maintenance of various NHAI projects in the State which was causing great inconvenience to the commuters. He said that the roads should be maintained properly and any laxity in this regard would be viewed seriously. He said that as many as 219 projects have been sanctioned under NABARD from 1st January, 2018 till date worth Rs 894.38 crore. Similarly, 28 road projects worth Rs 747.08 crore have been sanctioned under CRIF in the State during present state government, he added. 

Jai Ram Thakur said that 2262 roads have been sanctioned under Mukhya Mantri Sadak Yojna in the State during last about two and a half years. He said that this scheme was proving a boon for connecting left out habitations.  

 It was informed in the meeting that out of 205 Chief Minister’s announcement, 128 have been disposed off and 77 were in progress. 

 Principal Secretary PWD J.C Sharma welcomed the Chief Minister and other dignitaries in the meeting. He said that the department would work with greater commitment and zeal to achieve the desired targets. He said that during covid-19 pandemic, the target of State PWD under PMGSY were 13.8 percent as compared to national average of 6.81 per cent. 

Engineer-in-Chief Public Works Department Bhuvan Sharma made a detailed presentation on various activities being undertaken by the Department. He said that out of the total 37000 kms roads length in the State, 25000 kms roads are blacktop. 

Engineer-in-Chief Quality Control Lalit Bhushan said that proper quality of various works were being ensured and strict action was being initiated against the defaulters.

 Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Additional Chief Secretary Finance Prabodh Saxena, Chief Engineers, Superintending Engineers and other Officers also attended the meeting.

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