Satara (Maha): Mining sector is getting
affected by political interference and Naxalism, Union
Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Sunday insisting that it was not
just illegal minisng but legal activities too that were having
an "adverse" effect of environment.
"It is not just illegal mining but legal mining too
which has serious adverse environmental consequences. The time
has come to do a rethink on how we carry out mining today. The
overall sector is getting affected by the political
interference and naxalism," the Rural Development Minister
He was speaking to reporters after visiting Chandawad,
Ozarde and Dhamner villages which were given `Nirmal Gram`
award for cleanliness.
Ramesh took stock of the ongoing work on the UPA`s
flagship programmes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee scheme to name a few in the district.
The minister said he was expecting that the allocation
for some of the flagship social schemes could be raised
"substantially" in the upcoming Budget.
"Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation may see a
hike in allocation that could be anything between 40 to 60 per
cent. I expect the most significant increase to take place in
water supply and sanitation.
"The finance minister has promised a substantial
increase... We are hoping for a significant rise in the outlay
for the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana as well," he said.
"We must feel that investment in water supply and
sanitation is a matter of urgent priority," Ramesh said,
adding sanitation could provide security to women in the
countryside where people resort to open air defecation.
Ramesh also interacted with villagers after paying
visit to various projects.
He said the Centre was proposing to allocate one
per cent of the total annual outlay for the purpose of
building basic infrastructure for Gram Panchayats across the
Ramesh also informed that some five lakh-odd sugarcane
workers in Maharashtra would be entitled to get houses under
the Indira Awas Yojana subject to contribution from the state
Meanwhile, replying to a query on people preferring
open air defecation to toilet, the minister said," there seems
certain cultural norms associated with open defecation".
Ramesh also hailed the women`s savings groups for
"transforming" rural economy in the country.
He congratulated Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister- designate
Akhilesh Yadav who is all set to become the youngest head of