The Uttar Pradesh government has failed to meet the deadline of making the state roads pot-hole free by June 15, as promised by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath with only 60 per cent of the task being accomplished till date. According to a state Public Works Department(PWD) report, of the total 1,21,034 km roads in the state that were to be made pothole-free by June 15, the target could be met in 73,631-km, Additional Chief Secretary Sadakant said. Though it works out to a little over 60 per cent of the target, PWD claimed that it has completed the task in 80 per cent of the roads under it. The job was entrusted to various departments, including the PWD, Mandi Parishad and Pachayati Raj. In his first public appearance on March 25, a week after taking over as the state’s chief minister, Adityanath had declared in Gorakhpur that he has told the PWD officials to ensure that the state roads were made pothole-free by June 15. Adityanath had instructed the officials to make the UP roads pothole-free at a review meeting of PWD. He had also asked the officials to complete all work and projects within the prescribed time frame on a priority basis. Taking a jibe at the previous Akhilesh Yadav government, Adityanath had said, “It had become the identity of UP that the spot from where potholes appear and where darkness sets in at the stroke of evening, the boundary of UP starts.” Adityanath’s comment came in the backdrop of his predecessor Akhilesh’s public claim about improving the roads of Uttar Pradesh.
During the Assembly elections, Akhilesh Yadav had even claimed that if PM Narendra Modi travelled on the roads built by his government, the Prime Minister would vote for the Samajwadi Party. Official sources said it might take up to two more months before travellers could enjoy a smooth ride, attributing the delay to the new mining policy which has made it difficult to get raw materials, and to e-tendering process stated by the government. “Owing to e-tendering, there is difficulty in making the roads of the state pothole-free by June 15, and it may take additional 45-60 days to ensure that the roads are smooth. Due to the new mining policy also there is difficulty in getting the raw material,” a senior official said.
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Referring to policy measures like e-tendering, he said the BJP government will not work as per the old pattern and will function in a transparent manner. At a recent media interaction, senior cabinet minister Siddhartha Nath Singh had said, “The task (of making roads pothole-free) will be carried out on a war footing.” Singh had said the chief minister has told the state PWD department that officials would be “punished” if the repaired roads were found damaged during the monsoon. Of the 2,25,825 km of roads surveyed in the state, pot-holes were found on over one lakh km. Efforts were also on to ensure proper drainage along the roads to prevent water-logging.