Mamata Banerjee’s statement that the volume of work achieved by her government in five years was more than what CPI(M) had done in three decades had often been criticised by the Opposition leaders in their speeches and talk shows on television. But if we go by statistics we find justification of her claims.
Record lying with the Panchayat and Rural Development department shows that between 2001-11, the Left Front government had constructed 10,6902 km rural roads between 2011-16 ,that is, during the TMC regime 10,575 km roads had been constructed. In 2015-16, 2,400 km village road had been constructed.
The success of Panchayat department has been acknowledged by the Centre and West Bengal bagged the best award in constructing rural road under Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yogna (PMGSY). The report published by the Centre in 2013-14 shows that the target for construction of rural road was 2010 km. It was found that in March 2014, the length completed was 2741km.
It may be mentioned that since the inception of the project the Centre used to give 100 per cent cost and the state government had to maintain them. However, now the Centre gives 60 per cent and the state government has to dish out 40 per cent in addition to maintain them. Admitting that this would affect the coffer, state government went ahead of the projects penning the success story.
When PMGSY was introduced in 2000-01 till April 2015, the sanctioned length of road in km was 25624.995km. The number of roads to be built was 5023.The amount was Rs 11142.66 crore.
In April 2015, roads having length of 18052.64km have been built. The number of roads completed is 3477. The expenditure incurred is Rs 6873.70 crore and the habitations connected are 12652 villages.
It will not be out of context to go through the statistics between 2001 and 2011 when the Left Front was in power. The number of roads sanctioned under PMGSY was 2679 and the length of km to be built was 15,007 km. The sanctioned amount was Rs 5,373 crore.
During the past one decade the Left Front government had constructed 1829 roads covering a length of 10690 km at the cost of Rs 3460 crore.
From 2011 till April 2015, 2008 roads have been built against the sanctioned number of roads which was 2,344 covering 8,862km against the target of 10,616 km.
In many roads jute has been used and those built in this manner are found to be strong. There is three tier monitoring system to ensure that the quality of roads are not compromised. First, state government engineers check the work. In the second tier, a panel of engineers check the construction while in the third level engineers of other states check the quality.
Senior officials of the department said the construction of road would improve rural economy as travelling from one area to another would be hassle free.