As violence in the naxal belt escalates, one of the Centre’s key strategies against Maoists – providing road connectivity to far flung areas passing through some of the worst affected districts – seems to be floundering.
Two key Union ministries — home and road — are currently involved in a tug of war after the road ministry citing paucity of funds decided to pull out of the second phase of building 5,624 km of roads in the Red Corridor.
The home ministry, on the other hand, is insistent that the road ministry does some “innovative dovetailing” with ongoing central funded schemes of other ministries to fund Phase II of the road building project.
As against its requirement of R16,000 crore, the finance ministry has allocated just R5,400 crore to the road ministry for building roads in left-wing extremism areas.
According to the ministry this is just about enough to complete Phase- I work. It had sought an additional R9,400 crore for Phase-II.
To iron out the differences, cabinet secretary Ajit Seth held a high level meeting on Tuesday where it was decided to give more monetary support to states to build roads in naxal- affected areas.