By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Feb 18: PWD minister Ajanta Neog today refuted claims by Union Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh that PMGSY works in the State have been sluggish and below standard - citing the Best Infrastructure Development State award Assam was given by the India Today group in November last - in which roads have been the major component for recognition.
Neog also alleged that the Central government has curtailed funds to the State, leading to disillusionment among contractors engaged in road construction works.
"In the year 2013-14, the State received Rs 980 crore under PMGSY. In 2014-15, the NDA government slashed the allocation to Rs 247 crore. This year we have been allocated Rs 290 crore. From 2009 to 2013, the State had been getting Rs 730 crore annually," she said at a press conference here.
Neog also alleged that after the NDA government came to power, the Rural Development ministry has not conducted a review of the status of the schemes in the State. Earlier, the ministry used to hold review meetings almost every month to understand the gaps and plug them, she claimed.
"In any case, we are committed to pay the contractors and we will do it. The contractors have been asked to complete their allotted works by March," the minister said.
Neog said the State government had sent more than three memorandums to the Rural Development ministry, highlighting the problems and shortage of funds faced by the State.
"The Chief Minister has also persolly met the Union minister. But there has been no response. They cite budget constraints and old liabilities as reasons for not sanctioning new schemes," Neog said.
She said that surface connectivity in the State has registered a growth of 17 per cent since the PMGSY was launched in 2001. "But now the growth has slowed down due to the slashing of funds," she added.