Bengal lapse in road plan
New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday expressed displeasure at Bengal's performance in providing rural road connectivity.
Although Bengal is the best performer under the 100-day rural job scheme, it is one of the laggard states under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), a scheme run by the Union rural development ministry.
Bengal had achieved 65 per cent of its 2017-18 target under the PMGSY, it emerged on Wednesday during a review meeting chaired by rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
While 1.4 lakh roads were sanctioned under the PMGSY countrywide for 2017-18, about 83 per cent have been completed. The completion rate is 52 per cent in Assam and 64 per cent in Uttarakhand, the other states that have performed poorly.
Representatives from the laggard states cited difficulties such as land availability, forest clearance and law and order as reasons for the delay in completing the projects, official sources said.
Under the scheme, villages with a minimum population of 500 in the plains and 250 in hilly areas are provided all-weather roads. The Centre has set a target to cover all the eligible villages by March 2019.
Bengal's poor performance under the PMGSY is in contrast with its exemplary showing in providing unskilled work to rural households under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
The Union rural development ministry recently projected Bengal as a model state for the MGNREGA.
Bengal has started innovative projects such as massive plantations, river rejuvenation work, desilting of water bodies and water harvesting under the MGNREGA.