PM-praised Arunachal worst performer in highway projects

Written by Surabhi Rastogi | Surabhi | Urmila Rao | Updated: Jan 31 2009, 05:42am hrs
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may have congratulated Arunachal Pradesh for doing well in implementing road projects, during his visit to the state in January last year, the ground reality speaks otherwise. The state is the worst performer in carrying out national highway projects during 2008-09.

Arunachal Pradesh has used a mere 18% of the total budget of Rs 6 crore allocated to it for national highway works. Till December 2008, it had also not released any funds given to it under the Central Road Fund and the Economic Importance (EI) and Inter State Connectivity (ISC) scheme. The state had been allocated Rs 18.26 crore as per the Budget Estimate under the

Central Road Fund and another Rs 1.57 crore under the EI&ISC scheme.

The state also has an unspent balance of Rs 23.20 crore from its budget for the Central Road Fund since 2000.

This are some of the findings of a review undertaken by the Centre for a meeting of Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar with state chief secretaries on Saturday to discuss the implementation of the economic stimulus measures announced by the UPA since December. As part of the two stimulus packages, the UPA government has sanctioned the India Infrastructure Finance Corporation Ltd to raise Rs 40,000 crore over the next 18 months to refinance bank lending to infrastructure projects, especially in the highways sector.

The Cabinet secretary is expected to ask all state governments to speed up expenditure and the implementation of road projects during this fiscal. They are also likely to be asked to forward a list of National Highway works that they propose to take up next fiscal so that funds can be sanctioned for them under the Annual Plan for 2009-10.

In fact, Arunachal Pradesh has already been directed by the Centre to ensure that all the funds are used and speed up the pace of expenditure by implementing all the projects.

Although Arunachal has turned out to be the worst performer in implementing highway projects, other neighbouring states such as Manipur and Assam, along with Orissa are also way behind schedule.

Under the National Highway (Orignal) Works programme, Manipur has used merely Rs 11.8 crore till December 2008 of the Rs 40 crore given to it for the entire fiscal. The state too has not released any funds under the Central Road Fund amounting to Rs 4.4 crore in 2008-09.

Similarly, Assam has only spent Rs 38.43 crore or 45% of its budgeted allocation of Rs 86 crore in 2008-09 for national highway works till December. Meanwhile, Orissa performance has been partially better the state has spent nearly Rs 121 crore of the funds allocated to it under the National Highway Works programme till December. While this is a sizeable portion of the Rs 138 crore given to Orissa as part of the Budget, the states revised allocation is Rs 228 crore.

The Union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu too have not released any of the funds given to them under the Central Road Fund. The three had been allocated Rs 3.27 crore, Rs 1.64 crore and Rs 5.97 crore, respectively, under the scheme for 2008-09.

Roadblock

State has used merely 18% of the total budget of Rs 6 crore allocated for national highway works

Till December 2008, it had also not released any funds given to it under the Central Road Fund and the Economic Importance and ISC scheme