Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government's 'Ama Gaon Ama Bikash Yojana' to reach out to the people in rural areas and speed up development process seems to have lost its direction which is evident from the fact that half of the projects under the scheme are yet to be completed.

Even some projects which were inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik are yet to see light of the day even after more than one-and-a-half years since the scheme was launched on March 5, 2018.

A letter by Panchayati Raj Department Secretary to all the district collectors mentioning only less than 50 per cent of projects are complete has revealed the truth behind the status of different projects under 'Ama Gaon, Ama Bikas'.

"It is noticed from the MIS report that total 29,327 projects have been completed out of total 62,743 sanctioned projects which is not satisfactory," the letter mentioned.

CM Naveen Patnaik had launched the scheme on Panchayati Raj Diwas and had laid foundation of 32 projects in four panchayats across Odisha.

One of the panchayats is Sankuda in Ganjam where Rs 40 lakh was approved for four projects. One of them was reconstruction work of Gunasagar Bridge for which only Rs 10,000 has been utilised out of the sanctioned Rs 10 lakh.

Similarly, another project which was the construction of Lacchipur women self-help group’s meeting hall is yet to be completed. Even though the Panchayati Raj Minister Pratap Jena had inaugurated the project on December 19 last year, the painting work is still underway.

Meanwhile, chunks from the roof of newly-constructed Dhabaleswari shelter home, which was approved under the programme, have started to come off revealing the poor quality of construction work.

"The reconstruction work of Gunasagar Bridge has already started but due to rising water level, the work has been temporarily stopped. We hope that with the sanctioning of more funds, the project will be completed," said Sankuda Sarpanch, Santosh Kumar Sahu.

Out of the four panchayats where the projects were launched during inauguration of the scheme by Odisha CM, another is Sason in Sambalpur where 1.5 km long stretch of road from S Katapalli to Gurupali area was supposed to be made completely concrete, but work on only 400 metre is complete so far and the sanctioned amount of Rs 10 lakh has been reportedly exhausted. Similarly, revival work of Talpadar pond in the panchayat is also yet to be completed.

On the other hand, the State Panchayati Raj Minister has assured that the projects will be completed soon.

“The work on 62,743 projects has already started and many are under process which will be finished soon. Due to election and rainy season, we have given sometime for the projects to be completed,” said Minister Pratap Jena.