GUWAHATI, Sept 14 - Congress legislator and former PWD minister Ajanta Neog today said the assistance provided by the Union government for the repair and maintenance of roads (including national highways) in Assam is grossly inadequate and unless a dedicated policy is chalked out for the same, the conditions of roads and national highways in the State will not improve.
Speaking in favour of a cut motion brought by the Opposition in the State Assembly on voting on supplementary demand for grants, the Congress MLA alleged that no fund has been allocated by the Centre for taking up new repair work for the national highways in the State.
�Nearly 90 per cent of our transportation needs depend on surface transport that faces maximum wear and tear. Unless a periodic maintenance policy is taken up for the same, the conditions of roads in the State will remain deplorable,� she said.
Further adding that 48,000 kilometres of the existing village roads need to be repaired on a priority basis along with the repair of district roads, she mentioned that roads in 60 villages were made pucca during the previous Congress regime. �We have geographical conditions different from the rest of the country. In this part, rains and recurrent floods have a major impact on road conditions,� Neog said.
She, however, supported granting of more funds to PWD, and also sent a note of caution to her successor Parimal Suklabaidya that being a PWD Minister in Assam is no easy job.
Taking part in the discussion, BJP MLA Siddhartha Bhattacharyya said with newer technologies available, the PWD needs to change its way of functioning and alter its work schedules as and when needed. Opposing the cut motion, he said in view of the escalating prices of construction materials, the Department needs more financial support.
AIUDF�s Najrul Hoque invited the attention of the members towards the conditions of wooden bridges in the State and the need to replace them with concrete ones. �In 2017-18, the construction of 300 such bridges has been taken up. We hope the remaining 950 bridges will also be converted into concrete bridges soon,� he said.
BJP�s Prashanta Phukan advocated remodelling of PWD�s functioning. �The engineering section (of PWD) should be made more efficient and the non-performing contractors should be blacklisted to ensure accountability. The process of getting administrative approval for projects should also be made faster,� he added.
AGP�s Brindaban Goswami alleged that large-scale corruption has led to the dilapidated conditions of roads in the State. Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi said change in the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)�s funding pattern from 90:10 to 80:20 have affected the implementation of projects.
AIUDF�s Suzam Uddin Laskar alleged that large-scale corruption in road projects was taken place in the Barak Valley during the previous Congress regime and demanded an enquiry into it.
Majendra Narzary (BPF), Joyram Engleng (BJP), Aminul Haque Laskar (BJP), Mihir Kanti Shome (BJP), Bhubon Pegu (Independent), Binanda Kumar Saikia (BJP), Gurujyoti Das (BJP), Abul Kalam Rasheed Alam (Congress) and few other MLAs also took part in the discussion.