Naxal-affected Ambedkar grams to get concrete roads

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A fund of Rs 31.6 crore has been released for these 87 villages recently and Ambedkar Gram Vikas Department has issued directives to Rural Engineering Services (RES) and Public Works Department (PWD) to complete the construction of CC-Roads by March 31.

These 87 villages are located in Sonbhadra (41 villages), Chandauli (15) and Mirzapur (18), besides Deoria (13). The PWD will develop the roads in Deoria while the RES has been assigned the task of other three districts.

“It will be first time when CC-Roads are going to be developed in Ambedkar Grams in Naxal-affected areas. Earlier, brick pavements were being made there,” said Balvinder Kumar, principal secretary at the Ambedkar Gram Vikas Department.

Every year, the state government selects certain villages with substantial Dalit population and declares them as Ambedkar Gram. This entitles the villages to get basic amenities like roads, drains, toilets, power, drinking water, health facilities and houses for the poor on priority.

In the current financial year, 2,195 villages were selected under the Ambedkar Village Scheme. Out of them, 731 villages were selected from the Naxal-affected areas.

Earlier, there was provision for development of brick pavements in these villages. In 644 villages out of these 731, brick pavements had been constructed by December 2009. Later, state government decided to construct CC-Roads in the rest 87 villages.

In villages of other areas, not affected by Naxal activities, CC-Roads are being constructed from several years. Sources said the construction of brick pavements was continuing in Naxal-affected areas due to negligence of government.

In all the 731 villages, source said, progress is above 90 per cent in construction of toilets, approached roads, electrification, distribution of land lease, houses, agricultural land and water supply.

“Panchayati Raj Department has released the money for CC-Roads. RES and PWD will start work in the villages very soon,” Kumar said.

Meanwhile, the government has sought suggestions from various departments regarding identification of villages as Ambedkar Gram for the next financial year. Officials said over 2300 villages are likely to declared as Ambedkar Gram in the next fiscal.