In a development that has huge implications on India's security, the central government is planning more roads in border and tribal areas.
After the last meeting of the Union cabinet, where concerns were flagged about poor connectivity in these areas, the rural development ministry is tweaking its flagship Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) to specifically cater to tribal pockets and border villages.
Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said the new version of the PMGSY will reach habitations even if their population is less than 250. Under the current rule, PMGSY roads connect habitations with population of 250 in hilly, tribal areas and that of 500 in normal areas.
Even as the cabinet passed a Rs. 8,500-crore connectivity package for 78 naxal-hit areas in its last meeting, tribal affairs minister Kishore Chandra Deo pointed out that many tribal villages are left out as the habitations are scattered. "We will undertake a study to find out how many villages in border areas and tribal belts of Schedule V areas are left out. We will resolve the problems in the second version of PMGSY," Ramesh said.
He also ordered a study of the 362 blocks along China, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.