In Maharashtra, long-neglected roads may soon get a facelift. After rejecting pleas for funds under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) till last year, arguing the state had 100 per cent connectivity, the Centre has finally accepted its demand for funds to improve condition of roads in rural areas.
With this, the Union government accepts demand for new guidelines to allocate funds to repair/rebuild 12,650 km of roads laid 40 years ago. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil had been pursuing the matter. They wanted the Centre to amend guidelines or set new ones to accommodate states that may have good connectivity but still need central funds for road works.
Maharashtra expects the Centre to give Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 crore. The state has always received stepmotherly treatment, with chunk of PMGSY funds going to West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa.
Chavan argued, almost 40 years ago, the State government under the Maharashtra Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) undertook construction of roads on war footing. EGS helped build 12,640 km of roads and establish excellent connectivity in rural Maharashtra.