Technical mapping reveals no 500km village link roads: The Tribune India

Tribune press service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, November 22

More than 500 km of village link roads in the state do not exist. This was revealed by technology-based mapping of all state highways.

For years, millions of rupees have been spent on maintaining these roads, which only exist on paper. Since the 1970s, money has been regularly released from the national treasury for road maintenance based on manually recorded length and there has been no accountability for this expenditure. However, this practice will stop now. Through new Geographic Interface System (GIS) software used to map the length of roads.

Information available from The Tribune reveals that the Road Data Book lists the length of village link roads throughout the state as 64,878 km. But the length, measured by GIS, based on the latitude and longitude of these roads, revealed the actual length of the road at 64,340 km, which is 538 km less than the manually recorded road length data.

It is estimated that the cost of repairing a road is Rs 15 lakh per km and the road maintenance cycle is six years. This means that every year, extra money was spent on 90 km of these missing roads (out of the 538 km of missing roads, repair works per year are carried out for 90 km), which is equivalent to Rs 13.45 crores per year.

The problem was in the knowledge of the high authorities of the government for several years. Sources say that although successive governments have tried to intervene, there has been ‘fierce resistance’ from officials of the Punjab Mandi Board and the Department of Public Works, the former being the nodal agency for the maintenance of these roads and the second for its repair.

Interestingly, the government has also started mapping the length of “other district roads”. In a single 11.91 km road mapped on a pilot basis using new technology – between GT Road Gharinda and Bir Baba Buddha Sahib (Amritsar district), a road length of 0.17 km is indicated in the Road Data Book is missing.

“Some time ago, we decided to launch a technology-based GIS platform to map roads. The software was purchased from a private company and it not only mapped the length of the road, but also automatically mapped the portion of the road to be repaired and the equipment needed for it. This technological intervention will help us save millions of rupees every year,” said Ravi Bhagat, Secretary of Mandi Board.

Interface system defect found

  • The Road Data Book mentions the length of the road in the state as 64,878 km, but measured using GIS it was found to be 64,340 km
  • The estimated cost of repairing a road is Rs 15 lakh per km and the road maintenance cycle is six years. This means that every year extra money is spent on 90 km of these missing roads

Will help declare to save money

  • This year, 4,465 km of the “village link roads” and “other district roads” were approved for the special repair project
  • With the new technology in place, the government will be able to check the bad practice of recording longer lengths of road and therefore seek extra money for their repair and maintenance.

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