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Centre approves mega scheme for improving road infra in 35 worst affected Naxal districts

NEW DELHI: The Union Government on Wednesday approved a Centrally-sponsored road connectivity scheme for 35 districts worst affected by Naxalism and nine other critical districts with an outlay of over Rs 11, 724 crore entailing construction/upgradation of over 5,411 km of roads besides erection of 126 bridges.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi sanctioned the scheme titled “Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas” to improve the rural road connectivity in the worst Naxal-affected districts from security angle.

“The project will be implemented as a vertical under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to provide connectivity with necessary culverts and cross-drainage structures in 44 worst affected LWE districts and adjoining districts, critical from security and communication point of view.  The roads will be operable throughout the year irrespective of all weather conditions,” said an official release.

The fund sharing pattern of the road project will be the same as that of PMGSY with the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and States. The Finance Ministry will allocate Rs 7,034.72 crore to the Rural Development Ministry for this project during the period of implementation from 2016-17 to 2019-20, the release further said.

Rural Development Ministry will be the sponsoring Ministry as well as the implementing Ministry of this project. The likely duration of implementation of the project is four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20.

The project is envisaged to cover 35 worst affected districts which account for 90 per cent of total Naxal violence in the country and 9 adjoining districts critical from security angle as per the inputs and lists of rroads/districts provided by the Union Home Ministry.

The roads taken up under the scheme would include Other District Roads (ODRs), Village Roads (VRs) and upgradation of the existing Major District Roads (MDRs) which are critical for security. Bridges up to a span of 100 meters, critical from security angle would also be funded on these roads.

The PMGSY guideline does not permit construction/upgradation of MDRs. However, keeping special circumstances of LWE areas in view, MDRs would be taken up under the scheme as a special dispensation. The National Highways and the State Highways would be excluded from this project.

The roads to be constructed under the scheme have been identified by the Union Home Ministry in close consultation with the State Governments and the security agencies, by following a process of extensive consultation.

Source: The New Indian Express

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