With general elections barely 17 months away, the Centre has set up an ambitious plan to build roads in all tribal pockets across the country.
The Rs. 7,000-crore ambitious scheme aims to connect 2,637 villages. A cabinet note has already been prepared for inter-ministerial circulation and is likely to be taken up in the cabinet by November.
The UPA is all set to relax its current norms for building rural roads under the flagship PMGSY to include these villages scattered in different remote parts.
As per the PMGSY, habitations with 500 or more population in plains and 250 or more population in hilly areas are eligible for centrally-funded rural roads.
Under the new scheme, the centre will overlook the population criteria and build roads in all schedule V or notified tribal areas for its local habitations.
"This will have far-reaching social as well as security impact," said a minister pointing out that these all-weather roads will also help security forces reach remote pockets faster.
But at the same time, the challenge remains on how the government agencies will be able to neutralise the Maoist resistance to build these key infrastructure projects.