‘BJP-led govt. focused on bullet train, not rural roads’


Rural Development Minister says funds allocated in danger of remaining unused

Maharashtra’s Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif on Tuesday claimed that the previous State government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) focused only on Metros and bullet train projects for cities and neglected rural connectivity and roads. He said the funds allotted for his department may even lapse.

Mr. Mushrif said, “I have been reviewing the department’s performance in the last five years. The priorities of the previous government were Metro projects and bullet trains in urban areas. But in doing so, the roads in the rural parts of the State were neglected. The roads are not in a good condition. There are problems of connectivity in different areas.”

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader said the funds allocated for the department are now in danger of remaining unused. “There is a possibility that the funds may not be used in their entirety. We are in discussion with the Planning Department. It is true that the money has to be used completely for the allotted purpose of construction of roads in rural areas,” he said.

NCP leader and Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule had raised the issue of potholed roads in Maharashtra. She also ran a campaign of clicking selfies with potholes and sending them to the ministers in the previous government.

The State has a rural road network of over two lakh kilometres that falls under the Rural Development Department. It is said to be one of the key departments sought by the NCP to ensure it regains its lost base in rural Maharashtra. The department runs the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission in 34 districts and 351 tehsils. Under it, over 4.23 lakh women self-help groups have been established, connecting over 45 lakh families. The mission has made available ₹6,600 crore in bank loans to groups and enabled 10.83 lakh families in earning a livelihood.

To exhibit products made by such groups, the department will conduct Mahalaxmi Saras Exhibition 2020 from January 17 to 29 at the MMRDA ground in BKC. Last year, the turnover from the event was ₹12 crore and it is expected to reach ₹20 crore this year, said Mr. Mushrif.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 3:03:35 PM |

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