It is well-known that roads buttress development and economy while bridges engulf the economic gaps.
The Ministry for Rural Development, government of India, has approved Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)-Phase-III for 1276 KMs costing Rs 1357 Cr for Jammu & Kashmir.
As put by the Lieutenant Governor, the modern rural infrastructure, enhanced connectivity will improve the rural economy and ease of living.
As per government information, 2353 PMGSY projects covering 17,336 km connecting 2071 habitations have already been completed.
In 2021-22, 3284 Kms PMGSY roads were constructed, apart from 7301 Kms blacktopped, it said. Also, 125 bridges are to be constructed under the scheme to provide connectivity to far-flung areas.
While new approval as well as completion of under construction projects under it is good as far as easing the living of the people in far-flung areas is concerned, there is need to ensure these projects are completed with promptness and within reasonable dispatch.
Pertinently, the Government of India launched the scheme on 25th December, 2000 to provide all-weather access to eligible unconnected habitations with population up to 500 (Census 2001) in plain area and 250 and above in Special category States (States of North East, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand).
In the year 2013, in order to provide better connectivity to LWE regions, special provision was made to provide connectivity to habitations in the population category of 100-249. Further in the same year, PMGSY-II was launched for upgradation of selected Through Routes and Major Rural Links (MRLs) with a target to upgrade 50,000 km in various states and Union Territories. Subsequently, in the year 2016, Rural Connectivity Projects for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas (RCPLWEA) was launched as separate vertical under PMGSY
The PMGSY-III envisages consolidation of the existing Rural Road Network by upgradation of existing Through Routes and Major Rural Links that connect habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), higher secondary schools and hospitals.
The road connectivity will surely facilitate easy and faster movement to and from the food processing centers, agricultural markets and other farmer related enterprises. Such a facility ultimately leads to increased agrarian economy and helps the development of the region, creating multiple opportunities in wage and self employment.
Affordable and easy access to high schools and higher secondary schools remains important in the present technological improvements in all sectors. Also providing affordable and easily accessible health facilities should be the prime focus of the government for which road connectivity plays an important role. These projects need to be completed within the timeframes or earlier for sheer importance.