As a major initiative in connectivity sector, the Public Works Department (PWD) would be macadamizing around 10000 KM road length under PMGSY during the next financial year. This will be in addition to the upgradation of roads to be taken up under other schemes including CRF, NABARD, World Bank, ADB, state sector and district sector.
“J&K faces huge topographical and climatic challenges in constructing rural roads but the state government would macadamize longest road length ever under PMGSY next year,” Minister for Public Works Naeem Akhtar said during a conference of Ministers in-charge of States for PMGSY and Rural Development organized by Union Ministry of Rural Development in New Delhi earlier this week.
He said a target of macadamizing 1800 KM road length under PMGSY would be achieved in J&K by this fiscal. “For pacing up execution of connectivity projects, the state government has fixed timelines for tendering, allotment of contracts and other codal formalities bracketing the whole process to 45 days,” the Minister said, adding that this has resulted in the tendering of more than 300 languishing projects, in spite of the seasonality challenges that the state is facing. He said the Geographical Information System (GIS) has also been tendered out and would be fixed by the end of March this year.
Batting for framing of national policy for the maintenance of PMGSY roads, the Minister said the government is taking over five-year-old PMGSY schemes under R&B (PWD) sector to maintain the rural roads. A national policy on this would ensure that the states don’t lose the huge assets that have been created over the years under PMGSY, he stressed.
The Minister also stressed the need to consider the impact of road construction on the ecology and conducting environmental impact studies in eco-sensitive states like Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.
Akhtar said the PMGSY has proven to be a boon for Jammu and Kashmir as it has helped connect many hilly areas. This has put an end to the amount of leg work that people had to do to reach the market for even buying a pain killer.
The Minister said that road connectivity is considered to be an important factor in changing the socio-economic condition of the citizens of any area. In developing nations like India, roads grab much more importance considering the vast population of the country still living in villages.
To reach out to the last home in a hamlet with a road, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was started, eighteen years back in 2000, by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with a dream of connecting rural hinterlands with main roads and national highways.
The objective was to provide all-weather road connectivity to unconnected habitations. The target was set at connecting 1,78,184 villages with a minimum population of 500 persons in the plains and 250 plus in hilly areas.
The PMGSY roads have also given boost to the income of producers of perishable products including food grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and other commodities. They have brought institutions of learning closer to the students, besides giving sigh of relief to the patients.
Realizing the impact that these roads have on the lives of the people, the Centre has brought the target forward from 2022 to 2019 for achieving complete rural connectivity under PMGSY.