The 12th Plan draft approach paper on the road sector, which is being prepared by the Planning Commission, has proposed to connect all such rural habitations (in the plains) with a population of up to 250 persons and special category areas (hills, desert, tribal, border) with a minimum habitation of up to 100 persons with motorable roads.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), road connectivity is being provided in the rural areas which have a population of more than 500 persons and special category areas with a population of 250 persons.
“The aim is not only to expand the network of rural roads but to also provide connectivity to difficult and sparsely populated habitations. That will be the thrust in the 12th Plan,” BK Chaturvedi, Planning Commission member told HT.
However, the implementation of PMGSY — launched in 2000 and aimed at providing road connectivity to 1,36,500 habitations by 2007 — has always lagged behind schedule.
Eleven years after it was launched, the government has been able to cover only about 60% of the 1,36,500 eligible habitations. A majority of these habitations are in Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Besides expanding the rural road network, the plan panel has also suggested improvement and upgrade of 10,000 km of national highways and increasing the network of expressways during the 12th Plan.
“Instead of taking up new projects, the emphasis would be to complete ongoing work of the existing projects under the different phases of the National Highway Development Programme,” said Chaturvedi.
The draft paper, which will be finalised by the National Development Council, will also recommend completion of the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North-East and further expanding the road network in naxal-affected areas.