Works connected with Rlys may be brought under MNREGA



New Delhi: The Rural Development Ministry may soon notify some works connected with the Railways like afforestation and construction of approach road for crossings under its ambitious rural job scheme.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said his ministry can agree with some of the suggestions made by Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal in this regard.

Last week, Bansal had sought cooperation of the Rural Development Ministry informing that a number of Railway projects require unskilled labour force and many of these works can be undertaken in remote rural areas under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).

Indian Railways with a huge network spread across the length and breadh of the country traverses through thousands of kilometres of rural and backward areas.

A meeting of Rural Development Ministry officials chaired by Ramesh today examined Bansal's proposal and agreed with most of his suggestions.

"Works such as construction of embankments, developing water ways, constructing pathways, clearing vegetational growth, afforestation and construction of approach roads for railway crossings can be included under the MNREGA," Ramesh said.

He, however, said no mechanical work like maintenance of railway track could not be included in the job scheme.

In his communication to Ramesh, Bansal had said that deployment of rural population in schemes under MNREGA is quite similar to the requirements of Railways for such specified works.

He had suggested that area and project identification can be undertaken jointly at the level of district magistrates and Railway officers. Thereafter, programme officers concerned like BDOs of the state governments can deploy the rural labour force for these identified works under the supervision of Railway officials.

"This arrangement would not only open up more options for the gainful employment of the rural population but also greatly help Indian Railways expedite its ongoing projects," Bansal had said.

PTI