NEW DELHI -- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved a scheme aimed at improving rural road connectivity in 44 worst Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected and adjoining districts in different states.
Under the project -- Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas -- construction and upgradation of 5,411.81 km roads and 126 bridges and cross-drainage works, critical from security and communication point of view, will be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 11,724.53 crore, an official statement said.
The roads under the project have been identified by the Home Ministry in consultation with state governments and security agencies concerned. However, the national and state highways will be excluded.
The project will be implemented as a vertical under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to make targeted roads all-weather ones.
Parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are considered LWE-affected in varying degrees.
The project's fund-sharing pattern will be same as that under PMGSY, that is, 60:40 ratio between the Centre and states (except for eight north-eastern and three Himalayan states (Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10.
The Finance Ministry will allocate to the Rural Development Ministry Rs 7,034.72 crore for the project during its implementation from 2016-17 to 2019-20, the statement said.
The scheme is envisaged in LWE-affected states, including 35 worst-affected LWE districts, which account for 90 per cent of the total LWE violence in the country and nine adjoining districts critical from security angle as per the inputs and lists of roads and districts provided by the Home Ministry.
The roads taken up under the scheme will include Other District Roads, Village Roads and upgradation of existing Major District Roads (MDRs). Bridges with span up to 100 metres on these roads, critical from security angle, will also be funded.
Incidentally, the PMGSY guideline do not permit construction or upgradation of MDRs. "However, keeping special circumstances of LWE areas in view, MDRs will be taken up under the scheme as a special dispensation," the official statement said.
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