Rural road network: Kerala faces neglect from Centre again
New Delhi: Kerala has been again neglected by the Centre in rural connectivity scheme. When the union cabinet approved the third phase of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) on Wednesday, only 1425 km road was allotted for the state while a total of 1.25 lakh km road is being developed as part of the scheme in the country.
The state was neglected in the second phase as well when only 570 km road was allotted whereas a total of 50,000 km road was developed all over the country. In the first phase, Kerala was allotted 2600 km road. Considering the area of rural road network and the diesel usage, Kerala should have been allowed at least 4500 km road.
Due to flood havoc, Kerala should have been allotted more than the normal share to renovate the damaged facilities. But even the deserving share was not allowed. The criteria for development schemes are often designed in view of the north Indian states. This affects the developmental plans of Kerala.
The rural roads were allotted in the first phase of the scheme based on ‘Core Network of Road’. If they took ‘District Rural Road Plan’ as the criteria for the scheme, it would have benefitted Kerala a lot. But this continued in the second phase also.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held talks with former Union Minister for Rural Development for changing the criteria and to allot more road and fund, but in vain. Now the state is neglected in the third phase of the project also.
The Union Minister for Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar said that Rs 80,000 crore has been allocated for the third phase. This phase aims at extension of rural road network and connecting them with hospitals, educational institutions and agricultural markets.
The roads should be at least 5 km long and green construction methods should be applied. The state governments need to sign a contract with the Centre in this regard. The rural employment guarantee scheme will not be linked with rural connectivity scheme.