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February 15, 2014

PWD secures six-fold increase in central funds due to good work

PWD secures six-fold increase in central funds due to good work

The public works department (PWD) has secured a six-fold increase in central grants to maintain and develop national highways. PWD has got a 600 per cent hike in central grants in the ongoing financial year to repair and develop national highways maintained by it. This could change the age-old story of poor roads in Bengal. The PWD has got projects worth Rs 1,272.59 crore sanctioned from the Union ministry of roads, transport and highways in the 2013-14 financial year. In the past, the state used to get Rs 200 crore to Rs 250 crore annually.

Submission of detailed project reports (DPRs) was the key factor behind the PWD�s success in getting all projects sanctioned. The PWD had submitted DPRs for the majority of its projects by May-June2013-14. As scrutiny and other procedures follow the submission of DPRs, the project reports should ideally be submitted within the first three months of a financial year. If DPRs were submitted within the first three months, funds could be allotted by the end of the second quarter or in the beginning of the third quarter of a financial year.

The PWD has kept one officer of the rank of assistant engineer posted in Delhi for the past three-four months to follow up the projects submitted to the Union ministry.
The engineer visited the ministry every day to follow up the projects. He collected all required documents from Nabanna whenever they were sought by the Union ministry and submitted them without delay. He also made minor changes in the DPRs on the spot as and when required by the ministry.

The Centre gives priority to projects where funds are spent on time and utilisation certificates are submitted quickly. But Bengal historically lagged in this area. As a result, the state often failed to secure timely funds as it cannot float tenders or issue work orders on time despite approval from Center.

On the other hand, the PWD had issued tenders and work orders for all the projects sanctioned earlier this financial year and that is why it secured more funds in the beginning of the fourth quarter.