More than 80 per cent of the habitations in the country had been connected with all-weather roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), this was informed during a review meeting of the scheme. The meeting yesterday was chaired by Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who directed senior officials of the states to speed up the execution of the rural road projects to achieve full rural connectivity by March, 2019. Under the scheme, about 1.78 lakh eligible habitations with a population of 500 in the plains and 250 in the hilly areas are planned to be connected by all-weather roads. As of March, 2014, 97,838 of such habitations (55 per cent of the target) had been connected. Currently, about 1.31 lakh habitations were connected under the PMGSY and another 14,620 habitations were connected through various programmes of the state governments, together accounting for 82 per cent of the target, the Rural Development Ministry said in a statement. This had been possible by speeding up the pace of road construction and habitation connectivity over the last three years, reaching 130 kms of construction per day in 2016-17, the highest in the last seven years, the meeting was informed.
The work was in progress in all but 1,700 remaining habitations and the proposal to connect these 1,700 habitations would also be approved by December-end, the meeting was told. “It is likely that we will be very close to achieving 100 per cent connectivity of the eligible habitations by March, 2019,” officials said at the meeting. A major challenge was being faced in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand on account of the difficult terrain in these states, they said, adding that in Chhattisgarh, Malkangiri district of Odisha and a few areas of Jharkhand, the challenge was on account of left-wing extremism.
The ministry was constantly following up with all these states to ensure that the target was achieved by March 2019, the officials said.