Road maintenance cess used to fund Navaratnalu, alleges JSP

Jana Sena Party (JSP) leader Kona Tata Rao alleged that 8,971 km of the 14,714 km of State Highways in Andhra Pradesh are dotted with potholes, and 964 km of highways in Visakhapatnam district were in bad shape. The State Roads Development Corporation had submitted a report to the State government to this effect in March, he said.

The JSP leader alleged that contractors were averse to taking up road works as the government had not settled the bills pertaining to 1,521 works done at a cost of ₹388 crore last year. Motorists and pedestrians were facing the brunt due to the bad roads. Though an allocation of ₹1,242 crore was made in the 2021-22 budget for roads, not even ₹1 crore was released for repairs, he claimed.

Mr. Tata Rao alleged that for the past one year, the State government was levying cess of ₹1 on every litre of petrol and diesel towards maintenance of roads, thereby earning a revenue of ₹632 crore and ₹286 crore in the last five months. The funds were diverted for the implementation of the ‘Navaratnalu’ scheme and there was no money for undertaking road repairs, he alleged.

Similarly, an allocation of ₹205 crore was made in the GVMC budget but the corporation has not spent even ₹1 crore so far, he claimed.

“Visakhapatnam is referred to as a ‘smart city’ and a ‘metro city’, but even basic facilities are lacking,” Mr. Tata Rao lamented. He said that JSP has decided to organise a digital campaign on bad roads on September 2, 3 and 4 involving party leaders and workers. They would take pictures of damaged roads in their respective wards and upload the photos and videos on Twitter using the hashtag #JSPForAP_Roads and send them to the main office of the JSP at Mangalagiri. They would be sent to the government by JSP chief Pawan Kalyan, he said.

He said that if the government fails to respond in four weeks, the JSP workers would construct one road in each constituency through ‘shramdaan’.

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