GUWAHATI, Sept 14 - The State government�s effort to curb corruption and nepotism in road projects have met with resistance from unscrupulous elements who are making efforts to sabotage the effort and in the process projects are getting delayed.
Replying to the discussion on the cut motion for voting on Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2017-18 of PWD in the Legislative Assembly today, PWD Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said that certain elements are feeling threatened by the anti-corruption drive of the government and they are attempting to create hurdles in the process.
�So they are doing certain things to delay projects,� he said, adding that such attempts will not be allowed to succeed.
The PWD Minister said the department has suffered losses to the tune of over Rs 830 crore due to damage to infrastructure during the floods last year and this year.
�Last year, we suffered a loss of Rs 528 crore. So far this year, our losses due to floods have been Rs 306 crore. However, we received only Rs 7.66 crore under SDRF last year and we have got Rs 4.02 crore so far this year,� he said.
He said floods have damaged a number of bridges, culverts, and other infrastructure.
The minister said the BJP-led government, on taking charge last year, inherited liabilities worth Rs 2,296 crore in the department and has been able to reduce that by Rs 778 crore during the last 15 months. The target is to finish projects on time to ensure that liabilities do not go up.
Suklabaidya added that work has suffered on account of prolonged wet spell since March this year and added that certain works cannot be taken up during the period of inclement weather.
He said that while e-tendering has been made compulsory for projects of over Rs 20 lakh, many contractors are yet to get fully acquainted with the e-tendering process.
�So we have started providing training to contractors as well as our staff on the process of e-tendering,� he said.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), bridges up to 50-metre length were earlier sanctioned.
�But, now it has been increased to 100 metres,� said Suklabaidya, mentioning that 700 such bridges will be built.
A total of 8,000 km of roads have been sanctioned under PMGSY in Assam and tender has been issued for 5,000 km of roads.
He added that 1,000 SPT bridges will be upgraded to RCC bridges.
With regard to National Highways, the minister said that there is 3,900 km of such roads in Assam. Of the total, 2,541 km are with PWD, 696 km with NHAI, 399 km with NHIDCL, 31 with Border Roads Organization (BRO), 13 km with the Railways, among others.
Suklabaidya said that the four-laning work is in progress in 400 km stretch of National Highways in Assam.
He admitted that the condition of National Highways in Assam is not very good and continuous rains over the last few months have compounded the problem.
A sum of Rs 11 crore has been allotted to the divisions for carrying out temporary repairs in the National Highways.
He added that shortage of construction materials created major problems during recent months, but the situation in this regard is now improving and materials are again becoming available. He said the government is also prioritizing improving the condition of State Highways and district roads.
Altogether 22 MLAs from different parties took part in the discussion.