New Delhi: Admitting that progress of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojan (PMGSY) is not "satisfactory," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday informed Parliament that the government will accelerate pace of implementation of the programme.
   
Under the PMGSY, which was launched in 2000, the government aims to provide road connectivity to 1, 36,500 habitations with a population of 500 in the plain areas and 250 in desert and hill areas.
   
"The problem in PMGSY is that although the programme was launched in 2000, substantial funding was forthcoming only I the last 4-5 years. This year, it is Rs 20,000 crore (budget allocated). ...This is not a satisfactory state of affairs,"
Ramesh told Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.
   
He said the government has been able to cover only about 60 per cent of the 1, 36,500 eligible habitations.
   
"There are a large number of habitations remaining to be connected in Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. We are trying to accelerate the pace of implementation of the PMGSY," Ramesh noted.
   
Asked whether the government has set any time-frame to achieve the target, he said, "Based on the 2001 census, we will cover the connectivity targets only by 2017...We are trying to find the additional resources...I am hoping it
(completing target) by 2014."
   
Replying to a supplementary on whether there is any agency to oversee the quality of roads, Ramesh said, "It is wrong to say that roads have been built and now they do not exist. The maintenance of the roads, which are built, is the responsibility of the state governments."
   
He said the Centre cannot take upon itself the primary responsibility of maintaining rural roads, let alone state roads and national highways.

(Agencies)