After the state finance ministry gave its nod for 342 road development projects in the district, it has been revealed that of the Rs 168 crore sanctioned to the district, over Rs 70 crore has been given to Baramati taluka alone. The ministry sanctioned the funds -- to be used for construction, widening and repair of roads — during the monsoon session of the state assembly.
Proposals for about 44 road development projects in Baramati, which is the fortress of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the constituency of state finance and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, was sent to the ministry in March this year.
Interestingly, the Public Works Department (PWD) that is responsible for prioritising these developmental projects in the state is headed by another heavyweight NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal forcing opposition parties to raise their eyebrows. This also prompted them to question whether Baramati is the only taluka in the district in need of development.
Gajanan Babar, Shiv Sena MP from Maval constituency, said that apart from Mumbai-Pune Expressway and National Highway no. 4, all the roads in his constituency were in bad condition and need massive repairs.
“They [NCP leaders] always snatched away the budget allotted for the district and diverted the same to Baramati as if that’s the only taluka in the state which needs development work. The roads in Mulshi, Velha and Bhor are in poor condition for the last four years. However, the PWD as well as finance ministry are least bothered about the road development work in other parts of the district,” said Babar.
While BJP MLA Girish Bapat claimed that there are hundreds of such roads in deplorable condition in Saswad and Junnar talukas, and he has been trying to focus attention towards this issue for over 10 years now. He also claimed that repair work was done on a temporary basis and that the state government is least bothered to sanction funds for road development in these areas.
The finance ministry has also allocated Rs 5 crore for the construction of a flyover at Karha River in Baramati, while Rs 3 crore will be used for the road-widening and tarring of Baramati-Murum road.
“Rs 70 crore has been sanctioned for Baramati for various works, while Rs 13 crore has been granted for Haveli and Shirur talukas,” said DG Malekar, superintendent engineer of PWD (Pune division).
Sources in the PWD also agreed that the road development work is never done taluka-wise but constituency-wise where the respective representatives of the constituencies make sure that the work is done in their areas. Malekar added that there were fewer proposals for other talukas and thus funds had been given to Baramati.