Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD: Road connectivity would play a catalyst in the development of rural areas and in poverty alleviation, Union Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Kumar Jain Aditya said here on Thursday.

Inaugurating a three-day national seminar on “Sustainable Maintenance of Rural Roads” the Minister stated that ‘Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojna’ (PMGSY) was key to all poverty alleviation schemes. Roads would enable better reach of other welfare and development schemes to rural areas, where 72 per cent of the country’s population was still dwelling, he noted.

The Centre had taken up the scheme with Rs. 1.12 lakh crore and had already spent Rs. 60,000 crore in laying about 2.5 lakh km roads connecting about one lakh habitations. Another 2 lakh km roads were under construction.

Explaining how the rural road connectivity was transforming even the most backward regions like Bundelkhand the Minister said: “It was very difficult for a teacher to reach a village. It used to take about six hours for an ANM or emergency medical care to reach most of the villages. But, the PMGSY had been changing the scenario fast. Farmers were able to take milk to urban areas for better price.” The Union Minister hoped that the seminar participated by delegates from Mexico, Finland, Bolivia, Norway, Burkina Faso, Nepal, Bangladesh and others including from India would find useful solutions to sustainable roads for India with diverse climatic conditions.

Minister for Panchayat Raj Botcha Satyanarayana stressed the need for cost-effective, eco-friendly and durable technologies for rural roads.

The Centre had sanctioned Rs. 3,881 crore to the State for new connectivity and up-gradation of 12,667 km rural roads, he stated.