Staff Reporter

One such is Rayagada-Kerada linking Vizag

Big contractors not showing interest in the projects

Splitting of projects to encourage NGOs and SHGs mooted

BERHAMPUR: Fear of Maoists has delayed major road projects passing through remote areas of naxal-infested Rayagada district in south Orissa for several years.

The administration is worried as these roads are in extreme dilapidated condition affecting transportation especially movement of police force for anti-naxal operations. But for years together despite repeated advertisements no construction firm is showing interest in taking up these road projects.

One such road is the Rayagada-Kerada road which could increase direct connectivity between Rayagada and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Maoists are opposed to this project as it would lead to better joint operations of police force of both states. During last five years tenders have been invited five times for this road project worth Rs. 6 crores. But till now no construction firm has shown interest in taking up this project. Most construction firms fear that Maoists would not let them complete the project and would also extort heavy amounts from them.

Similarly a road between Padmapur and Bangichhak in the district remains undeveloped as no construction unit is ready to take up this project worth Rs. 9 crores. Even rural roads which are to be developed under Pradhan Mantri Gramya Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) have also suffered in Padmapur, Gudariu and Gunupur blocks.

According to sources, around Rs. 12 crores has been sanctioned for three roads to be developed under PMGSY in these three blocks. These roads are Sulundi-Burtungi road in Gunupur, Kadama-Rangam road in Padmapur and Derigam-Jaripanga road in Padmapur.

Executive engineer of rural works department, Laxmi Narayan Nayak accepted that delay in construction of these roads was proving to be hindrance to development projects and government work in remote areas. Executive engineer of Roads and Buildings department in Rayagada district Manas Ranjan Patnaik recently requested the State Government to split these big road projects and develop them through local construction contractors of rural areas. Social activists like M.Venkat are of the opinion that these roads can only be taken up if they are split into small projects which would be handed over to local NGOs and SHG as no big construction firm would come up to take up these projects.