Bhubaneswar: The Centre has approved the Odisha government's proposal for constructing 788 roads covering 2,740 km and 17 bridges in the Integrated Action Plan and cyclone-affected districts under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

"My Ministry has cleared the proposal of 788 road work covering 2,740 km at a cost of Rs 1,385 crore," Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh informed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter.

Stating that the cost of construction had gone up rapidly in the last two years due to scarcity of conventional materials for road construction, Ramesh requested the chief minister to explore the possibility of using industrial wastes and application of new technology like soil stabilisation in road construction to reduce cost and save the environment.

He said that the state was required to rationalise the workload of project implementation units to ensure quality of work.

Ramesh said that since the state proposed to engage central agencies to implement the PMGSY work in the IAP districts, it should submit a formal proposal to this effect to the ministry at the earliest.

"Besides, for quality monitoring of the works at the state level, the state government should expedite second-tier quality inspection in some selected districts by engaging at least two institutions. The institutional monitoring should be actively encouraged," Ramesh said.

He said that since cyclones and floods were a recurring phenomenon in Odisha, the ministry advised the state government to seek technical advice from geotechnical experts in the design of roads and bridges in consultation with the National Rural Roads Development Agency to minimise the effects of floods.

Prior to this the ministry had also sanctioned Rs 2453 crore during the current fiscal for construction of 3924 km of rural roads and during 2012-13 Rs 2445 crore for construction of 5189 km of rural roads, he added.