The Panchayat and Rural Development department has done a miracle in rural connectivity in the past four and half years.
This has been recognised by the Centre with West Bengal bagging 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 by the West Bengal rural development department was 2741km.
The number of habitations was 390 when it was found in March 2014. Now, the number of habitation connected was 1356 which is the highest in the country.
The success of the project has contributed to the development of the rural areas. 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 maintaining them. Admitting that this would affect the coffer, the state government still went ahead with the projects leading to 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 and the amount given was Rs 11142.66 crore.
In April 2015, roads having the length of 18052.64km have been built. The number of roads completed is 3477 and 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 15007 km.
The sanctioned amount was Rs 5373 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 2344 covering 8862km against the target of 10616 km.
The roads in which jute is used 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 State Rural Development Agency said that once the target was reached the state government would approach the Centre to give sanction to strengthen and upgrade the roads
covering 10,000 km.