Centre chides JK on PMGSY implementation

MRD Points Out Improper Monitoring, Paltry Spending, Poor Quality Of Works

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, Apr 23: The Union Ministry for Rural Development has pulled up J&K Government for its dismal performance in execution of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY), threatening to stop funding to the State under the program.
In a 4-page letter (D.O P-17025/73/2012/RC) written to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Union Minister for Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh, has pointed out that delay in execution of the program, improper monitoring, poor spending on creation and maintenance of the assets and poor quality of works was hitting the scheme in J&K.
The latest missive from the Union Ministry follows its reminders to the State in the past asking it to improve performance under the scheme. The PMGSY is Government of India-funded program aimed at providing all-weather road connectivity to unconnected habitations in rural areas.
Under it, the Ministry has sanctioned Rs 4793 crore for construction of 1886 roads covering a length of 9606.63 kilometers till November 2012. However, the letter points out that J&K has completed only 670 works covering 4044.65 kilometers, involving Rs 1862 crore.
“Notably, 1216 works including 682 works (50.44 percent) sanctioned prior to March 2010 are still incomplete which is a matter of serious concern since under PMGYS works are required to be completed within 18 months,” Jairam writes to Omar. The Ministry, which according to the letter recently reviewed the program in J&K, has questioned low expenditure on construction of roads apart from “huge” unspent balance of Rs 345 crore at the end of last March.
Taking note of poor maintenance of the PMGSY assets (roads), the Ministry has hinted it would stop funding to the State. “I need to point out that proper maintenance of the PMGSY assets will be seen as key to continuance of the program in your state,” Jairam cautions Omar.
The maintenance of the PMGSY roads in the State has also come under the radar. The Ministry has noted that though there is a 5-year maintenance contract inbuilt in the PMGSY, J&K has been lagging behind in ensuring funding under the contract.
The State has reported to the Ministry that Rs 0.20 crore maintenance funds (1.87 percent of the requirements as per the contract) were credited to the State Rural Road Development Agency (SRRDA) during the last year against the requirements of Rs 10.69 crore.
During 2011-12 against the release of Rs 6.31 crore maintenance fund the expenditure booked was just 14 percent and it was three percent against the release of Rs 4.35 crore funds in 2010-11.
J&K has come under repeated criticism from the Union Ministry over poor implementation of PMGSY.
In August 2011, Ramesh conveyed his displeasure to Omar after reviewing the execution of the PMGSY.
Later in December that year, Jairam again showed displeasure over implementation of the program in JK.
This time the Ministry has also raised eyebrows on quality of the PMGSY assets in the State.
The reports of independent quality monitors, National Quality Monitors (NQMs) and State Quality Monitor (SQMs) have shown that quality of the roads “was not to the expected level” and during the last year an “extremely high number of unsatisfactory works” were reported by NQMs (14 percent at ongoing stage and 44 percent at the completion stage).
Jairam has also questioned poor Online Monitoring Management and Accounting System (OMMAS) under the program, saying it was one of the strategic tools for purposeful monitoring and review of the program.
“However I am constrained to mention that large data entry gaps still persist on the selected parameters,” the letter reads.  “I would like to bring to your notice that these issues need to be addressed in order to meet the expectations,” the letter reads.
The Union Ministry has also taken note of delay by the State in getting certified the SRRDA’s account for the 2011-12 on the basis of the OMMAS.
“Since this has implication for release of funds to the state, it is necessary that the legacy of the data entry gaps is quickly overcome in order to take the advantage of the program,” the letter reads.
It has brought to the fore the State Government’s failure to ensure continuous road monitoring survey, essential for maintenance and future up-gradation.
“No progress has been made in your state,” Jairam has pointed out. “I request you to direct the Department concerned to take immediate necessary action on the issues taken up so that your state will be able to absorb the funds likely to be available during 2013-14.”

Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Apr 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Apr 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Apr 2013 00:00:00 IST




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