Kerala will be included in the second phase of the Prime Minister’s Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh gave this assurance to Members of Parliament from Kerala during a discussion in New Delhi on the implementation of rural development programmes in the State, said Minister for Rural Development K.C. Joseph on Wednesday.

Kerala had not been included in the PMGSY-2 announced in the Union Budget.

The Union Minister had agreed to sanction construction of 720 km of road in Kasaragod district as part of the Endosulfan package and 137 km of road under the Idukki package, besides 720 km of road sanctioned earlier.

Mr. Joseph said that arrangements would be made for implementation of the yojana as sought by the Centre, including appointment of a chief engineer and an empowered officer to oversee it. The engineering wing at the block level would be strengthened.

He said the Union Minister had agreed in principle to Kerala’s demand that Rs.70 lakh per km should be sanctioned for roads in Kerala, considering the higher construction cost in the State. Now, the State was footing the additional bill.

The wages for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREG) Act would be increased to Rs.180 a day. The number of workdays to be provided in a year would be increased from 100 to 150 days in drought-affected districts. The State government and the Members of Parliament had demanded an increase in the wages to Rs.200 a day and inclusion of works in the dairy, coir, and other traditional sectors in the scheme.