The Pre-Empowered Committee of the Union Rural Development Ministry has recommended for approval 881 road projects for Odisha covering 2,982 km. at a cost of Rs. 1,493 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

The recommendation was made by the Committee on Tuesday and all formalities for formal sanction should be completed in the next 30 days, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has informed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“During 2012-13, we had sanctioned 5,189 km. costing Rs. 2,445·75 crore. During 2013-14, we have already sanctioned 1,184 km. costing Rs. 1,067 crore,” Mr. Ramesh said in a letter addressed to Mr. Patnaik.

The Union Minister also informed that he had also assured the State Government officials that the State can come with further proposals for sanction by December 2013. Mr. Ramesh, however, said that the execution capacity was a major concern. “Hence, the State will have to establish a minimum of 20 more Project Implementation Units (PIUs) for expediting the sanctioned road projects.” “The State is having workload of about Rs. 6,000 crore and at present the State has engaged only 50 PIUs whose capacity is only Rs. 3,125 crore.” Mr. Ramesh pointed out.

The Union Minister further informed Mr. Patnaik that his Ministry had now opened habitations of 100+ population in the 18 integrated action plan (IAP) districts of Odisha for connectivity under PMGSY, Mr. Ramesh said.

“You will agree with me that Odisha has received unprecedented assistance and cooperation from the Central Government in the matter of rural roads particularly. However, around 13,000 km. still remains to be sanctioned which indicates the magnitude of the challenge ahead both for the State and Central Governments,” Mr. Ramesh said in his letter addressed to the Chief Minister.