4 components of rural telephony, water supply, housing exceed targets

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Sept 21

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today reviewed the six components of rural infrastructure under Bharat Nirman for 2005-06.

It has been pointed out that progress in four components of rural telephony, rural water supply, rural housing and coverage of new stretches of roads under the rural roads programme exceeded the targets.

The targets under the components of rural electrification were also substantially achieved though there was a shortfall in the component of irrigation, according to an official release.

Bharat Nirman seeks to cover all villages in India with electricity, all-weather roads, potable water, electricity and telephones by 2009. In addition, 60 lakh new houses are to be constructed and one crore hectares brought under irrigation.

Under rural roads, 18,708 km were laid against a target of 15,492 km. Under rural telephony, so far 30,251 villages out of 66,822 stand covered. As far as rural water supply is concerned, under the category of slipped back habitations, 70,416 were covered against a target of 34,373.

The target for the uncovered habitations was 11,879, against which 11,526 were covered. In the area of rural housing, against a target of 15 lakh houses for 2005-06, 15.41 lakh houses were constructed.

Under rural electrification, against a target of 10,000 villages to be electrified, 9,819 villages were connected.

However 2006-07 and 2007-08 are critical for the programme, as the target has been hiked to 40,000 villages per year.

A new system of franchisees for distribution has also been set up under the programme, with the franchisee being self-help groups and private entrepreneurs.

In irrigation, the basic responsibility is with the State Governments. It has been found that so far not all States have sent their reports and from among the States reporting, 0.9 million hectares capacity has been created against a target of 1.9 million hectares for 2005-06, the release said.

For the rural roads programme, a separate window for Bharat Nirman under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund has been created to source Rs 16,500 crore, which is expected to be approved by the Cabinet shortly.

A total of Rs 48,000 crore including cess, EAP and the new window will meet the funding gap of the programme in full.

The Prime Minister has directed the Planning Commission to organise a separate meeting for him with the Chief Ministers of these States during the ensuing NDC meet to request them to act on these programmes with urgency so that all targets are achieved on schedule.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 22, 2006)
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