In a bid to speed up road construction in areas affected by Naxal violence, the government has decided to fund dirt roads — and not just blacktop or metalled roads — under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

Since it’s harder to bury explosive devices under blacktop roads, Maoists prevent their construction. “But they are not against katcha sadak [unmetalled road],” points out Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh.

“PMGSY is meant to ensure connectivity to every village. If we cannot build blacktop roads, at least let us provide connectivity by way of non-blacktop roads.”

The scheme will now be split into two phases for the 82 districts affected by left wing extremism. The first stage will include levelling, construction of the gravel base and slope stabilisation.

More In: National | News