New Delhi, May 9: With an aim to bring down the price of essential commodities in the north-east, the government today said capitals of all the states in the region will be connected by broad gauge rail network by 2020.
"Rail connectivity has an impact on poverty alleviation. It will bring down prices of essential commodities particularly food grains. All the state capitals of the north- east region will be connected by broad gauge rail network by the year 2020," Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for Planning, Statistics and Programme Implementation said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
He was replying to a question whether the government was aware that development of infrastructure and connectivity is the single most important factor to remove regional disparities.
Singh said Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), a centrally sponsored scheme was launched in December, 2000 as a special intervention of the government with broad objective of ensuring sustainable poverty reduction. PMGSY aims to provide good quality all-weather single connectivity to every eligible habitation, he said.
"Since the beginning of the programme, till March 2016 a total of 1,16,310 habitations have been connected against the target of 1,78,000 across the country and a total length of 4,72,627 kilometres of roads has been considered", Rao said.
Besides, the Minister of Road, Transport & Highways has initiated a mega road development programme in North East - Special accelerated Road Development Programme in North-East (SARDP-NE).
As on date, the government has given approval for 2/4 laning of 6,418 kilometres of roads under phase A and Arunachal Pradesh Package of SARDP-NE in entire north-east at an estimated investment of about Rs 33,750 crore.
In February 2009, the Centre had approved a special programme for development of roads in left-wing extremism affected areas including tribal sub-plan in the country spread over 34 districts in 8 states of Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
"The programme envisages development of 5,477 km roads (1,126 km National Highways and 4,351 km state roads) to 2 lane standards at an estimated cost of Rs 7,300 crore", he said. An outlay of Rs 700 crore has been proposed for this programme for 2016-17, he added.