ITANAGAR, Jun 01: Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with Union MoS Home Kiren Rijiju on Thursday called on Union Minister for Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar at Krishi Bhavan in Delhi to discuss issues related to rural development (RD), specifically rural connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh.
Khandu informed Tomar that road connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh was gradually improving with all-weather access to eligible unconnected habitations in the state under the flagship programme of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). He said connectivity has been facilitating access to economic and social service and helping generate increased agriculture income, productive employment and reduce poverty.
Khandu and Rijiju thanked the RD Ministry under Tomar for sympathetically considering the unique demographic as well as geographic characteristics of the state and liberally funding projects to improve connectivity.
The state government during 2016-17 submitted a proposal for 162 road works and 53 long-span bridges with a total length of 2,447 km for consideration and sanction. The ministry cleared 119 road and 36 long-span bridges in November 2016 after its empowered committee approved the proposals in principle.
The chief minister requested Tomar to consider approval and sanctioning of the remaining 43 roads and 15 long-span bridges. He said all required technical corrections and modifications have already been made in the detailed project reports as per the directives of the National Rural Roads Development Agency.
Khandu underscored the importance of these roads located in remote areas of Tawang, Papum Pare, Upper Subansiri, East Kameng, Kurung Kumey and West Siang districts.
Khandu requested early release of the first instalment for the current year sanctioned by the Union ministry under PMGSY, as pending bills for payment against the works executed need to be cleared.
He said the state government was doing its part by strengthening the Rural Works Department with creation of 124 technical posts to increase the execution and absorption capacity for implementation of PMGSY. The programme implementation units (PIUs) have also been increased to 34 and more PIUs will be deployed as per requirement, he said.
Tomar assured support and cooperation of his ministry and said that it was the vision of the Prime Minister that all rural villages of the state are connected by 2019. He requested the state government to tighten up its belt and fix responsibility on officials found irresponsible or flouting norms in implementation of PMGSY.
The Union minister said that release of funds under PMGSY was pending due to some issues, which his office would take up with the state government. He said once his ministry gets the response sought from the state government, there won’t be further delay in release of funds.
“I am aware of the tight working season of the state, where it rains almost through the year,” he said and directed his secretary to immediately get in touch with the state’s chief secretary and sort out the issues within 15 days.
Tomar was of the view that majority of the work should not suffer because of a few official or legal issues, nor should majority of the people suffer due to mistakes of a few individuals.
He called upon Khandu to take action against individuals, irrespective of their status, who flout the norms and because of whom the entire PMGSY programme gets stalled. Khandu said he would.
When pointed out by Rijiju, Tomar assured support in augmentation of water supply projects in the state and asked the state government to make proposals and submit the DPRs to his ministry.
He offered to visit the state when the weather is conducive with his entire ministerial team as well as the Constituent Committee and hold a major meeting and roll out a few policy decisions from Arunachal Pradesh. (CMCC)