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Minister changes tone, IAF protests I am happy, insists Ramesh

Ranchi, July 2: Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh today expressed his happiness over progress of various aspects of Saranda Development Plan and also lauded the Arjun Munda government for implementing various programmes under the Centre’s Integrated action plan (IAP) for Naxalite-hit districts.

After a one-and-a-half hour meeting with Arjun Munda and senior bureaucrats at the chief minister’s Kanke Road residence, the Union minister conducted a separate review of rural development schemes at Project Building.

Ramesh, who visited Saranda yesterday, had written a critical letter to Munda on June 18, expressing serious concern over the slow pace of development schemes in the forested territory that was freed from Maoists last year after a major offensive by the CRPF and state police.

But a visit to Saranda seems to have changed that impression.

“I am happy that within five months of laying foundation stones, two rural roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) are nearing completion. I hope work on another nine roads would be complete by the end of 2013. Giving the first installment of Rs 24,500 each to as many as 2,500 beneficiary families under Indira Awas Yojana in last few months is also a commendable task,” Ramesh said at a press conference.

The Union minister also expressed satisfaction over the speedy execution of MGNREGS schemes in Saranda. “As many as 56 rozgar sewaks have been selected in all the concerned villages in Saranda. We have ensured cash payments to MGNREGS workers to avoid late payments. Work on integrated watershed schemes is also going on,” added Ramesh.

According to a state government communiqué, Ramesh, during his meeting with Munda, applauded the role of his government in executing development projects under the Centre-sponsored Integrated Action Plan (IAP).

Asked about the Rs 450 crore development plan for the Sarju-Kone area of Latehar district bordering Chhattisgarh, the minister said he had asked the Latehar district administration to re-work the proposal and send only rural development components.

Ramesh iterated that political activism was the need of the hour in Saranda where people were nw coming forward with specific complaints like lack of electricity, drinking water, roads, rations cards etc.

The Saranda paln was a model, he has always maintained, and its success would pave the way for similar development initiatives in other Naxalite-affected areas of the country.

On the delay in beginning work on a building to house integrated development centre (IDC) at Digha village, Ramesh said there was procedural hold-ups at Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) which was to provide Rs 5.25 crore.


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