‘Biju Gaon Gaadi’ covered 490 GPs in two years: Minister

Bhubaneswar: Launched in February 2014, the Odisha government’ ambitious Biju Gaon Gaadi scheme, aimed at improving connectivity in 23 backward and tribal districts of the State, has covered 490 gram panchayats (GPs) of the State in the last two years.

This was informed by Commerce and Transport minister Ramesh Majhi after attending a review meeting of the department chaired by chief minister Naveen Patnaik here today.

The minister said, “Of the 6,242 panchayats, buses under Biju Gaon Gadi scheme are operating in 490 GPs. We are trying to provide road connectivity in 335 more GPs this year,” Majhi stated.

In some areas, the department is facing some local issues, he said adding they would be solved soon.

“Since some 80 GPs are situated close to national/state highways and have some geographical barriers, we are unable to run buses in these areas. These issues would be sorted out very soon to run the scheme,” he stated.

Official sources said, the programme, aiming to benefit 80 lakh people in 12 districts, was launched in 118 backward blocks of these districts; namely Koraput, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Phulbani, Gajapati, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Balasore.

The minister informed that a MoU for Jeypore -Nabrangpur and Jeypore-Malkangiri rail projects would be inked within a fortnight.

“We have written a letter to the railway minister requesting him to implement these projects on the lines of Khurda-Bolangir project, which is being executed on cost sharing basis. For Jeypore-Nabagranpur project, the State government has agreed to bear half the project cost and the land will be provided free,” he said.

Majhi said 25% of the project cost of the Jeypore-Malkangiri railway project will be borne by State government.