The Union government on 17 May 2012 cleared a Rs 8500-crore project under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) with an objective to connect 6000 habitations in the 78 naxalite-affected districts of nine states. Under the project money will be utilised for new connectivity and upgradation of habitations, which will be an addition to the core network, approved in 2002 by the Union Ministry of Rural Development.
Norms of PMGSY were relaxed for the first time to provide road
connectivity to these habitations, in view of the naxalite problem.
Jharkhand and Orissa will be the biggest beneficiary of this package.
There are some 1000 unconnected habitations in nine Naxal-hit districts
of Bihar and another 2500 in 17 districts of Jharkhand. The remaining
habitations are spread over 18 districts in Orissa, 16 in Chhattisgarh,
eight each in MP and AP, three each in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh and
two in Maharashtra.
PMGSY is the single-most important rural development intervention
that is believed to significantly transform the ground-level situation
in Maoist-hit areas.
Roads are the prime targets of the Naxals, the reason why PMGSY
works are severely lagging in Maoist-hit areas. The problem is most
acute in 20 districts, and has the worst record in implementation in
Bijapur and Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh, Rohtas, Hazaribagh and Gaya in
Bihar and Deogarh in Orissa are among them.
Major relaxations in norms have been made in the rural roads
programme to improve connectivity in Maoist-hit districts. The
population norm for a habitation to be connected has been reduced from
500 to 250 in these districts. The tender package for road construction
was kept at Rs 50 lakh, as against Rs 1 crore earlier, to stimulate
The move to boost road connectivity is aimed at preventing
tribals and backwards from falling for the Naxal campaign revolving
around government neglect and under-development. The roads will also
increase government interaction with these villages thereby providing
better security besides being a key indicator of development.
Cement-concrete roads have been pushed in Naxal areas because of the
plea of security agencies that they were better insurance against Naxal
landmines. The Centre bears 90% of the cost of these roads.