Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Minister for Rural Development K.C. Joseph Tuesday said that the state`s demand for modifying centrally sponsored schemes has received a favourable response from the Planning Commission.
Addressing reporters here for the first time after taking over as a minister in the United Democratic Front government, Joseph said Planning Commission Vice Chairman Montek Singh Aluwalia was briefed about the need for state-specific modifications of schemes like the Prime Minister`s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
"State specific modifications for these schemes will only help to improve the effective implementation of these novel schemes. Looking back on the implementation of these projects, Kerala`s performance has been appallingly poor and response from Ahluwalia clearly indicates that modifications, if made in the right earnestness, would be met," he said.
"Our Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, when he reaches Delhi shortly for Plan discussions, would take this up again, and we are confident this can be a reality," said Joseph.
While other southern states are far ahead in the implementation of PMGSY (Andhra Pradesh - 20,740 km, Karnataka 16,110 km and Tamil Nadu 10,091 km), Kerala has been able to achieve a mere 2,704 km of roads and has not even used up the sanctioned Rs.976 crore.
"Land is a scarcity in our state and under the PMGSY a minimum of eight metres width for roads is required, and moreover no compensation is given for the land taken over under this scheme," he said.
"The rates for the work are also very low and we have requested that at least the rates prevailing in the Central Public Works Department be applicable," said Joseph.
Among other demands that the state will place before the central government when Chandy meets up officials in New Delhi are that the MGNREGS should be extended to work undertaken on private land and also for implementing watershed management schemes.