Rs.2,500 crore was released at one go for providing drinking water and sanitation, says Union Minister K.C. Deo

Union Minister for Tribal Affairs and Panchayati Raj Kishore Chandra Deo on Tuesday said despite lack of initiative from Andhra Pradesh to hold panchayat polls on time, Rs.2,500 crore was released at one go for providing drinking water and sanitation.

“Due to Central norms, the funds remained unspent for over two years despite several reminders to hold panchayat polls,” he told The Hindu n an interview at Kurupam.

Mr. Deo said the most significant contribution of UPA-II for tribal areas was sanction of Rs.7,000 crore under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana of which Rs.1100 crore was granted to AP. Visakhapatnam was the prime beneficiary as it was sanctioned Rs.600 crore for laying roads in Paderu and Araku regions. In addition to this, Rs.1,000 crore was sanctioned to improve existing roads.

He said release of funds for rural and interior areas got focus in UPA-I, which was further given fillip during UPA-II. For Mahila Samakhyas, buildings were provided which they had never dreamt of. For each building Rs.25 lakh was granted, he said.

Mr. Deo said for release of funds under Integrated Action Plan, he had convinced the Centre to cover Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam. Earlier, it was restricted to Warangal and Karimnagar. Now each district gets Rs.30 crore per annum for roads and bridges in the Maoist-hit interior areas.

Job opportunities

He said to provide job opportunities to tribals, youth training centres had been set up at Sithammapeta in Srikakulam, Rampachodavaram in East Godavari and Pedabayalu in Visakhapatnam each at a cost of Rs.3 crore. Residential training centres were being set up in each mandal.

For improving literacy among tribal boys and girls, Ekalavya residential schools were being set up with Central funds wherever the States had allotted minimum 15 acres. For infrastructure alone, each school was sanctioned Rs.10 crore. For those located in difficult terrains, an additional grant of Rs.4 crore was sanctioned.

Mr. Deo said Ekalavya schools had been sanctioned in-principle in Rampachodavaram (East Godavari), Dumbriguda and Munchingput (Visakhapatnam), Makkuva, Pachipenta and Kurupam (Vizianagaram), Seethammapeta and Bhamini (Srikakulam).

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