Jajpur: The governments of Odisha and Chhattisgarh are very keen to construct roads in border areas of the two states under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) scheme. Both governments want to undertake the projects as they feel that only development work can counter the threat of the Maoists residing in border areas. However, contractors are not keen to take up work in the border areas due to the threat of Maoists.
The matter came to fore after Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Amitabh Jain in a letter dated July 13, 2022 to his Odisha counterpart Suresh Kumar Mahapatra, informed the latter about the reluctance of contractors in Odisha to take up road construction works in the fringe areas of both the states which are dominated by the Maoists.
The Chhattisgarh government had floated tenders for construction of Kukar-Amamora-Chindola road and Sibanarayanpur-Pandripani-Sikasher road which falls under the Maoist belt on the fringes of both states. The neighbouring state floated the tender 24 times but no contractor from Odisha came forward to participate in the bid.
In the letter, Jain informed that funds have been sanctioned for construction of the Kukar-Amamora road and local police have assured to provide security to the contractors. However, despite the assurances, no one was keen to take up the work. Jain has requested Mahapatra to look into the matter and urge contractors in Odisha to take up work in border areas. Jain also said that there is need to provide security to the persons engaged in road construction by ensuring proper coordination between both the state governments and police.
Faced with the tricky situation, the Chhattisgarh government is now considering dividing the construction work into several segments and floating a tender for each one.
On the other hand, the Rural Development department of the state government has directed the engineer-in-chief (EIC) of Rural Works department to encourage contractors from Odisha to carry out road construction works undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government.