Union Minister of State for Power, K.C. Venugopal on Saturday blamed the contractors for not taking up works under the Prime Minister's Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in the State.

Chairing a meeting of vigilance and monitoring committee to review the progress of Centrally-sponsored schemes in the district and later talking to reporters, Mr. Venugopal said out of the 258 projects put up for tendering process, only 24 projects completed the process. "The State was losing funds of crores of rupees due to this. I doubt the contractors have taken a collective decision to keep off from such works. They were not even ready to quote prices during tenders," he said.

He alleged that the contractors were reluctant to take up these works as they will not get huge profits from such projects. He said that the meeting urged the State Government to seriously look into why such works were not taken up by contractors. "This is an injustice shown to the public," he said.

The Alappuzha drinking water project under Centre's Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) was progressing well with Rs. 42 crore already spent for the project.

The project conceived in 2007 is to supply drinking water to Alappuzha municipality and 10 surrounding panchayats. However, Kerala Water Authority (KWA) was drawing flak from various quarters with regard to drinking water supply. "Even complaints for repairing pipes are not addressed by KWA authorities. Hence, KWA executive engineer is instructed to look into the issue," he said.

Another issue discussed was that the projects for solid waste treatment were getting little response. Only 5 grama panchayats have utilised the fund from Suchitwa Mission to set up waster treatment plant. "The era of centralised waste treatment plants is over. Now we have to think of decentralised methods in our own households. The Mission is offering subsidy and now they are offering up to 90 per cent subsidy for setting up such plants. Efforts to rope in NGOs were also being considered. This is the issue that is going to be given a thrust this year," he said.

He also said that awards have been instituted for the grama panchayats who set up the best model of waste treatment plants in this way.

Mannar, Aryad, Mararikulam North, Puliyur and Devikulangara grama panchayats have successfully implemented the solid waste treatment plants in the district.

The works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has been expanded by including 30 more works and setting up of solid and liquid waste treatment plants has also been included in the list.

Additional District Magistrate (ADM), K.P. Thampy, PMGSY joint development commissioner, B.S. Thirumeni, people's representatives and officials attended the meeting.