New guidelines for rural roads

Published: Thursday 15 May 2003

-- the Union ministry of rural development (m o rd) has recently issued fresh guidelines under the 'Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana' (pmgsy) to prevent construction of poor quality roads and streamline the bidding process throughout India. " pmgsy is the largest rural road connectivity programme in the world. We hope the new guidelines pave the way for the construction of good quality roads," says an official of the National Rural Roads Development Agency (nrrda), which comes under the m o rd .

The new rules stipulate a standard procedure for road construction. They envisage a three-tier quality control system, with executive engineers at the lowest rung and national quality monitors (retired senior engineers) at the top level. The contractor has to give a five-year guarantee for the work done. The state governments, too, have been made responsible for the maintenance of roads in rural areas for a period of five years. The m o rd has also issued a standard bidding document, which would be uniformly followed by all states. "Till now, the states were following their own procedures and this resulted in a lot of confusion," says the nrrda official.

Earlier, in July 2002, a survey conducted by m o rd found that about 35 per cent of roads constructed under pmgsy were not up to the mark. So far only 10,882 roads have been completed against the target of 56,000. To be sure, there has been a decline in poor quality roads -- from 35 per cent in July 2002 to 20 per cent in February 2003. The pmgsy is a centrally sponsored scheme with a 2007 deadline.

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