The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely “Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas” to improve the rural road connectivity in the worst LWE affected districts from security angle.  The project will be implemented as a vertical under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to provide connectivity with necessary culverts and cross-drainage structures in 44 worst affected LWE districts and adjoining districts, critical from security and communication point of view.  The roads will be operable throughout the year irrespective of all weather conditions.

Under the project, construction or upgradation of more than 5,400 km road and 126 bridges will be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 11,724.53 crore in the 44 districts worst hit by Naxalism. The fund sharing pattern of this road project will be the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and States for all States except for eight North Eastern and three Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which the centre will bear 90% of the project cost, while the state government will bear only 10%.

Ministry of Finance will have to allocate to Ministry of Rural Development Rs.7,034.72 crore for this project during the period of implementation 2016-17 to 2019-20. Ministry of Rural Development will be the sponsoring Ministry as well as the implementing Ministry of this project. The likely duration of implementation of the project is four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20.

The “Road Connectivity Project for LWE Affected Areas” will be implemented in Naxalite effected states including the 35 worst affected districts accounting for 90% of total LWE violence in the country. 9 adjoining districts critical from security angle as per the inputs and lists of roads provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs has also been included in the project.

The PMGSY guideline does not permit construction/upgradation of Major District Roads (MDRs). However, keeping special circumstances of Naxalite effected areas in view, these major district roads would be taken up under the scheme as a special case. However, the National Highways and the State Highways would not be covered in this project. The roads to be constructed under the scheme have been identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in close consultation with the State Governments and the security agencies, by following a process of extensive consultation.

How this project will benefit the people :

  • Construction of roads in the worst-effected Naxalite areas will create better means of transport, thereby opening the doors of employment and trade to the extremely poor people, especially tribals inhabiting the area.
  • An excellent connectivity will lead to enhanced security and effective anti-naxalite operations as central forces can easily and efficiently be transported to the areas which are currently hotbed of Naxalite terrorist forces.
  • Good connectivity will enhance industrialization and increase trade in the backward areas, thereby creating new jobs and uplifting of the economically backward section.

Kshitij Mohan