Srinagar: An area with enhanced connectivity and sturdy roads and other amenities often reap the benefits of improved healthcare facilities, employment opportunities, good education and a better quality of life.
The Government of India, with an objective to streamline rural road connectivity a highly essential requisite for rural development, launched Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). The motto was to provide access to better socio-economic conditions, enhance the agricultural income besides raising living standards of rural India. The scheme was aimed at to eliminate lack of accessibility and connectivity through construction of solid, all-weather resistant roads that allow for easy movement of vehicles and goods.
Under this scheme, Government of India is striving to establish high and uniform technical and management standards in rural roads network by facilitating policy development and planning from micro level. The primary objective of PMGSY is to provide connectivity by way of an all weather resistant roads with all necessary arrangements and cross-drainage structures to make unconnected habitations in rural areas with a population of 500 persons and above (2001 census) connected throughout the year.
In Jammu and Kashmir, PMGSY programme has proved to be a boon towards expanding all weather resistant roads in rural pockets of the Union Territory. The scheme, here, was launched in 2001-02 with an aim to provide all weather connectivity to unconnected habitations in rural areas with a population of more than 250 as per 2001 Census. Union Ministry of Rural Development Department had sanctioned 3347 schemes under PMGSY-I to be executed in 12 phases envisaging construction of a length of 18432.79 Km with a cost of Rs. 119646.76 crore to provide connectivity to 2148 eligible habitations. Under PMGYS-II, 107 schemes had been sanctioned with a length of 704.55 Km worth Rs. 790.49 crore.
As on date, 2113 schemes having length of 13233.36 Km have been completed with an expenditure of Rs.7864.60 crore. Out of 2148 eligible habitations, 1943 have been connected, so far. During the current year, against the target of 3500 Km, 2400 Km have been achieved as on date with an expenditure of Rs.1380.00 crore thereby completing 280 schemes and connecting 105 eligible habitations.
Under road sector, construction and up gradation of roads has been taken up and funds for acquisition of land and shifting of utilities required for road widening have also been provisioned under the scheme.
During 2020-21, Rs 270 crore had been allocated for 737 road projects for construction of 582 Km of road length.
Bridges form an important component of road connectivity under PMGSY that ensure accessibility and reduce time of travel. Given the topography of UT and the nature of rivers and streams zig zagging its landscape, demand for construction of new bridges is huge.
In 2008, a special bridge program had been launched by the department in which construction of new bridges was taken up. During 2020-21, 78 bridges had been under execution with an estimated cost of Rs 327 crore. An additional amount of Rs. 60.00 crore has also been allocated during 2020-21.
Also, maintenance of roads is equally important as construction of new roads. Due to the normal wear and tear and tough weather conditions, macadamization coats of the roads deteriorate and need maintenance after a few years. Under Capex budget, a scheme called “Cities and Towns” has been introduced where under funds are being allocated for providing renewal macadam coats to the city and town roads besides major district roads of the UT. During 2020-21, an amount of Rs 400 crore had been allocated under the programme under which 1650 Km of road length was planned to be macadamized.
In a significant achievement, Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir has bagged top position at the national level for successfully implementing Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) for the year 2020-21. The district has received top position for constructing roads of 560.49 km in 2020-21. Besides, four more districts of the UT of J&K have featured in the list of PMGSY top performing 30 districts of the country. These included Rajouri (420.25 Km), Doda (335.71 Km), Kathua (297.79 Km) and Reasi (223.23 Km).
The Jammu and Kashmir Government has performed remarkably in last few years in implementation of PMGSY making development of rural areas as one of its prime objectives.
For J&K administration, road connectivity is not only a key component of Rural Development by promoting access to economic and social services but generating increased agricultural incomes and productive employment opportunities is also part of their implementation strategy.