.........BHUBANESWAR: THE Rural Development Department on Thursday formulated an empowered committee to look into the better maintenance of rural roads in the State. Formed as per a resolution issued on July 26, the empowered committee comprises 11 members and will finalise funding norms for maintenance of different kinds of roads of different government departments as per the Odisha Rural Roads Maintenance Policy, 2017.
It will review and revise norms as and when required for better maintenance of roads, Commissioner-cum-Secretary Rural Development Department Bishnupada Sethi said.The Development Commissioner-cum-Additional Chief Secretary is the chairman of the committee, while Secretaries to Finance, Water Resource, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water, Works departments and Engineer in Chief (Water Resources) and Engineer in Chief (Rural Development) are the members. The FA-cum-Additional Secretary of Rural Development is the member-convenor.
For a State that has a geographical area of 1,55,707 sqkm and a population of 4.2 crore as per 2011 census, rural roads are critical since around 83 per cent of the population live in rural areas. The rural roads also play an important role for socio-economic development of the population.
The objective of road maintenance, as per the Rural Roads Maintenance Policy, is to prolong the life span of roads by reducing the rate of deterioration, the cost of vehicle operation and sustaining the socio-benefits of improved road access.