The Centre has sanctioned 2,389 projects under the Integrated Action Plan for the construction of 9,070 km of road at an estimated cost of Rs 3,387 crore in rural Bihar to mitigate the impact of naxal insurgency.

Rural Works Minister Bhim Singh said that rural road projects with a specific objective to build infrastructure in the naxal-affected districts had been sanctioned in a phased manner over the past two years ever since the IAP was launched in 2010-11.

Nine districts — Aurangabad, Gaya, Jehanabad, Arwal, Jamui, Nawada, Rohtas, Munger and Kaimur — would be covered by the IAP’s rural road projects scheme, Singh told PTI.

He said that Rohtas district had been sanctioned 1,990 km, the longest among the states, followed by Gaya 1,550 km.

Giving the break-up, the Minister said that Aurangabad district had been sanctioned 1,312 km of road, Kaimur district 1,235 km, Arwal 168 km and Munger 268 km.

Singh said of the total sanctioned road length of 9,070 km, 4,499 kms had already been built by the central and state agencies.

He said that henceforth rural areas, inhabited by a population ranging from 250 to 500 people, would be connected with quality roads for round-the-year connectivity.

The road infrastructure development, once completed, will bring economic development to the targeted areas and generate employment opportunities.

He said if any area with a population of 500 was left out after the completion of road construction projects under the IAP and Prime Minister’s Grameen Sadak Yojana, roads would be built there under the state government’s own road construction scheme.

Good rural road connectivity is a dream nursed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who had declared recently that it was his goal to build roads so smooth that from anywhere in the state that it should not take more than six hours to reach Patna.

The Minister, however, has a grouse. Often there was delay in the release of funds by the Centre under central schemes.

“Timely release of funds will mean quicker benefits to the targeted population who were without quality roads so long,” Singh pointed out.

He said adequate security measures had been taken in the naxal-affected areas keeping in mind extremist attacks on construction sites.

The Minister also appreciated the inclusion of West Champaran and Sitamarhi districts under the IAP to take the number of districts to 11 and urged the Centre to bring Sheohar and Lakhisarai districts too under the scheme.

(This article was published on August 7, 2012)
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