| Chief minister Nitish Kumar lays the foundation stone for rural roads on Thursday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Chief minister Nitish Kumar today laid the foundation stone for 1,505km of rural roads, for the first time under Mukhya Mantri Gram Sampark Yojana, at Samvad.
The project, which would connect small habitations having population of 250 by roads in the next year, would cost Rs 1168.57 crore. In the last eight years, the Nitish government has built 38,000km of rural roads and 15,000km more are under construction.
Nitish said: “Earlier, under Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), we used to connect places having population of 1,000 by road, but we came up with another scheme to connect places having population of 500, under PMGSY. But now, the government has come up with Mukhya Mantri Gram Sampark Yojana to connect habitations of just 250 by road.”
Eleven districts are under the Centre’s Integrated Action Plan under which habitations of 250 are connected by road in Naxalite affected districts. However, 27 districts were left out, so the state government stepped in with the MMGSY.
Nitish said the roads will not only help rural people get good money of their production, but also help education and health sectors. “Farmers often do not get good money for their produce but now they can sell their products in the market,” he said.
He said laying the foundation stone was just the beginning. The government had a long way to go, he said. “Finance commission members recently visited the state and discussed many issues. We have approached World Bank for loans for many projects in the state. The state is arranging money from resources available with us,” he said.
He said once the rural population is connected by road, their social, economical and educational aspects would improve. “Once connectivity improves, development is bound to take place. There was a time when I used to walk a lot in rural areas. Even when I was an MP in 1989, I had to walk in my constituency as there was hardly any road there.” Like in the case of the road construction department’s road maintenance policy, to keep roads in good shape, Nitish stressed on doing the same for rural roads.