Sasaram: Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday pulled up the Bihar government for slow implementation of central flagship schemes like MNREGA and IAY and cautioned that the naxal movement may intensify if adequate steps were not taken to provide basic infrastructure to the rural people.
Expressing apparent dissatisfaction with no visible impact of central schemes on people`s lives, the minister said that "much more needed to be done by the state government and the panchayati raj institutions under the central flagship schemes like MNREGA and IAY".
On a visit to Bihar`s Rohtas district to inspect progress in implementation of the rural development schemes and the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) at Rohtas block, Ramesh said rural development schemes and anti-naxal operations by the paramilitary forces have been successful in containing naxal activities.
But the movement might intensify if adequate steps were not taken to fulfil the rural people`s aspirations like road, education and health, besides employment opportunities, Ramesh added.
Taking in view the cost escalation in construction of houses, the Union Rural Development Minister said that it has been proposed to hike housing assistance to the BPL families in rural areas to Rs. 75,000 under the IAY, while those beneficiaries in naxal-affected areas will receive Rs. 80,000.
Ramesh said that the Centre has decided to link toilet construction to the dignity of the woman in rural areas and made it mandatory under the IAY with the beneficiaries to get an extra Rs. 9,000 for toilet construction in their houses.
The second instalment of the assistance under the IAY will be given only after the beneficiaries have constructed a toilet in their houses, he said.
The Union minister said that 158 road projects will be constructed in the naxal-affected Rohtas district this year under the PMGSY and rued that 123 under-construction rural road projects in the district could not be completed due to threat to the construction companies by the criminal and naxal elements.
Fresh tenders were being floated for bidding for pending road projects in the district, Ramesh said, adding that the state government and local authorities should provide adequate security to the construction agencies involved in the task of creation of rural infrastructure.
The Union Rural Development Minister said that he would discuss with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tomorrow at Patna about development works in the naxal-affected districts of Bihar and said that the Centre was ever willing to provide all assistance and cooperation to the state government for development works.