Road connectivity changes life in rural Tripura

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By Pinaki Das

Bamutia (West Tripura), May 22 : Villagers of Kabirbari and its surrounding villages in the Bamutia area are very happy now. After more than two decades what used to be poorly connected village has a well metalled road over which not only small jeeps or autorickshaw, but big lorries and busses can also ply.

Thanks to the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), the cent percent Central Government sponsored resolved programme for construction of all-weather roads in the rural areas to provide total connectivity for provision of full farm to market connectivity and up-gradation of associated "through routes" with a long term rural developing perspective.

"Now villagers have been benefited. Vehicles can move to our village and we also can sell our products in the market," said Hari Kumar Paul, a villager.

The construction of the rural roads brought multi-faceted benefits to the hitherto deprived rural areas and can be seen as an effective poverty reduction strategy.

The economic benefits of rural roads include increase in agricultural production, better prices for agricultural produce, reduction in transport costs, creation of new employment opportunities in farm and off-farm sectors, lower prices for essential commodities to rural consumers, better setting up of cottage and agro-industries and increase price in production of dairy products.

"Earlier, we did not get good price of our products as we could not go to market to sell them rather people use to collect the vegetable from our village and pay as they wish. But now things have changed for a better," said Ranjit Sil, a villager.

The impact of the new links on the social life of the rural population, is reflected in the form of better medical care, more attendance in educational institutes, better availability of public services and higher levels of social interaction.

Surendra Sarkar, another villager added, "Many of our problems have been solved. We can bring products to the market in cycles, patients can also move up to the hospital in a vehicle."

PMGSY was launched in 2000 under the Bharat Nirman Programme by the Government of India to provide connectivity to unconnected rural habitations as part of a poverty reduction strategy.

In the first phase, habitations (hamlets) of population of 1000 (500 in the case of hill states, tribal and desert areas) and above will be covered. All together under the programme will 66,802 habitations will have all weather roads extending 1,46,185 kilometers.

In the second phase, habitations of population of 500 (250 in the case of hill states, tribal and desert areas) will be covered.

In the State of Tripura, against the proposed construction of total 3000 km of new roads at an amount of rupees 1336 crores, 2880 km has been sanctioned.

So far, 700 km of new road at the cost of rupees 300 crores has completed and another 1,300 km is in progress. 1067 km of road will be improved under the 60 per cent upgradation road category of which 103 km has been sanction and of the 700 km road under the 40 per cent upgradation category 150 km has been sanction.

Recently, the Centre has sanctioned another 90 crores for the project.

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