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PMGSY at snail pace in Northeastern region

The Central government is giving top priority to the development of the Northeastern region, as this region continues to be backward in comparison to other parts of the country even after sixty years of independence. There are several reasons for its backwardness, prominent among them are lack of perfect leadership and will power to implement the centrally sponsored schemes. The growing unemployment has bred the menace of insurgency in the entire region. Violence continues unabated affecting even the meager developmental activities. Reluctance of skilled workforce and technicians to work under 'security threat' has adversely affected developmental activities.

With the primary objective of fast development of the backward regions of the country, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was taken up by the Central government. The Union government guaranteed cent percent funding of the scheme. Under this scheme, all the villages of the country to be connected with all-weather roads with necessary culverts and cross-drainage structures operational throughout the year, to the eligible unconnected habitations in the rural areas. The scheme gives stress on states of the region to provide good connectivity to far-off rural areas.

The Ministry of Rural Development, by which this scheme is sponsored, has shown its anguish and displeasure on the performance of five states of the Northeastern region out of seven states. Among the short performing states are Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Nagaland. The Ministry has asked the erring states to carry out a special review of the programme and act appropriately to make good the shortfall. The states have failed to achieve less than 80 per cent of their targets.

The Ministry's observations are based on performance of half year ending September 2007. The state of Assam was able to complete a little over 20 per cent of the target of road connectivity during this period. It spent about forty per cent of the sanctioned amount. The state could connect only 95 habitations with roads against the target of 448 inhabitations.

Similarly, the performance of Meghalaya state was also only one fourth of its target. Mizoram could provide road link to only five habitations out of nine identified for the project. Nagaland could provide roads to only 76 habitations of the targeted 10. Instead of targeted 115 habitations, Tripura could connect only 32 during this period. In view of the huge expansion in the road, construction programme in these states the Ministry has opined that advance planning was necessary to ensure adequate availability of materials within reasonable distance from the project sites.

Despite enough man power and adequate available fund respective state governments are responsible for this plight of the people and place. Disturbances and uncertain political situation and lack of will power among the leaderships are mainly responsible for the slow pace of the development of centrally sponsored schemes.
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Daya Nath Singh's picture

Journalist; Guwahati Press Club office Secretary

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