Narendra Modi has decided to now better the scheme by covering villages left out of the PMGSY, the smallest ones with less than 500 population, with a pacca road.
Under a new scheme, all unconnected villages and habitations in India with less than 500 population will now get single motorable all-weather roads by converging the project with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). Habitations with less than 250 population in Special Category States like hilly and desert areas will also be covered under this.
Existing PMGSY-covered villages will also get roads now beyond the panchayat or government school. Importantly, roads leading to Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna villages, identified by the Members of Parliament on PM’s insistence, would be getting the highest priority.
Under PMGSY, villages with over 500 population in plains and those with over 250 population in hilly and desert areas have been connected with 3.08 lakh kilometers of roads over the last 15 years. But there are thousands of villages in the country with less than that benchmark population and left unconnected and presently served mostly by earthen patches.
Also, in the villages covered so far under the PMGSY, roads are constructed only up to an important location in the habitation – like a Gram Panchayat, a school or a community centre, and not the entire village.
The idea, as per a recent Centre’s communique to states, is also to cover those segments with “distinct socio-economic function which need to be addressed as part of the comprehensive poverty reduction strategy” and may not have fallen within the rigorous framework of PMGSY.
“All this is likely to have reinforcing positive impact on rural economic activity,” the communique says, asking for motorable roads also to lead from habitations to field paths for enabling easier transportation of tractors to farms and farm produce to markets or godowns.
The Centre has decided to leverage MGNREGA for the programme as the rural job guarantee scheme provides for “taking up of works of rural connectivity to provide all-weather access, including culverts and roads within a village, wherever necessary”.
Implementing agencies have been asked to undertake “Transit Walks” in villages by including woman self-groups to prepare ‘Panchayat Network maps’ along with MGNREGA field staff before road construction works are commenced.
ET had reported on August 15 how Union drinking water and sanitation secretary Parameswaran Iyer had to undertake a 14-kilometre trek to Sateli village in Dehradun district – his first district posting over 3 decades ago – as the village was still unconnected with a road and did not fall under the PMGSY parameters.
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