Naveen launches Biju Setu Yojana of Rs 1,000 crore

Bhubaneswar: In an effort to provide connectivity to all the villages in the state, Orissa government today launched a Rs 1,000 crore scheme – Biju Setu Yojana (BSY)- for construction of at least 400 bridges in next three years. "The new bridges will provide access to market of goods and services and improved delivery of social service. Statistics has shown that improved road connectivity has a positive impact on the reduction of poverty," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said after launching the scheme.

Though bridges were being constructed under different schemes, the state government felt that the existing schemes were unable to cater to the requirement of the state, said chief secretary B K Patnaik adding that the state government embarked upon a new initiative to bridge all the missing links on roads under Rural Development department. The state government would fund the BSY from its own resources, the chief secretary said.

"There are about 23 percent villages having population below 100. Therefore, they cannot be reached under different schemes. The new BSY will help providing connectivity to those villages," said Rural Development secretary S N Tripathy. Besides looking after the requirement of the rural development, the new scheme would also cover strategic and important panchayat samiti roads belonging to Panchayati Raj department, he added. "Approximately 400 bridges are targeted for construction during 2011-12 and 2012-13 with an estimated cost of Rs 1,000 crore," Tripathy said.

The department of Rural development had so far constructed 288 bridges under RIDF (Rural Infrastructure Development Fund) and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and over 121 bridges were under construction, he pointed out. "As the ministry of Rural Development is providing funds for construction of bridges on PMGSY roads, the state government will submit more proposals to bridge the missing links," he said.