Union Minister for Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Shri Giriraj Singh has called for more efficient implementation and monitoring of the rural roads development works by the State Governments. Pointing out uneven progress of Rural Roads Infrastructure in various states, the Minister called for Janbhagidari and more transparency in the implementation of various projects under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). He was addressing the gathering after inaugurating the 3-day International Conference on New Technologies and Innovations in Rural Roads, here today.
Shri Giriraj Singh also called for initiating a Startups Challenge in the area of Refilling and Binding materials for the Rural Roads Infrastructure. Adoption of New Technology, Innovation and Ecofriendly will be the key drivers towards meeting the commitment of Zero percent Carbon Neutral emission by the year 2070 set by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, he said.
Stating that PM Modi has stressed there can be no development without connectivity, – road or digital, Shri Giriraj Singh said more than seven lakh kms of road length has been laid since 2014. Besides, 3.25 lakh kms roads have been upgraded during the last three years, he said. GIS enabled data for more than 45 lakh kms road length has been compiled under the eMARG (electronic Maintenance of Rural Roads under PMGSY) project during the last three years. More than Rupees 73,000 crore has been spent, generating 66 crore mandays work during the period 2019-20 and 2021-22, he added.
Shri Giriraj Singh said improved rural roads infrastructure helped India during the Covid crisis with agri exports contributing about 23% to India’s total exports. Even today, 70% of our population resides in the villages, he said.
Addressing the gathering, MoS (Steel and Rural Development) Shri Faggansingh Kulaste recalled the path shown by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in strengthening India’s rural roads infrastructure. It was his novel idea to raise the huge finance for this project by imposing a Rupee One fuel cess, he said. Shri Kulaste also mentioned the contributions of the Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, when he was the Minister for Road Transport & Highways and the present incumbent Shri Nitin Gadkari.
In her address, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, MoS (Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Rural Development), said roads are as vital to a country like what veins are to a human body. Stating that the conference comes at an appropriate time when the country is celebrating the year-long Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM), she said PM Modi has urged the countrymen to take care of roads and not chuck out waste like polythene bags from the car window.
Speaking on the occasion, MoS (Panchayati Raj) Shri Kapil Moreshwar Patil said there was a time when a driver used to be wary of approaching pot-holed village roads from the evenly laid and well-maintained highway, but times have changed since PM Vajpayee launched the PMGSY on December 25, 2000 and now there is equal focus on rural and urban road infrastructure.
In his keynote address, Secretary (Rural Development) Shri Nagendra Nath Sinha said more than 1,10,000 kms road length is planned to be laid using new technologies, of which above 70,000 kms has been completed.
During the Inaugural Session, the dignitaries released a number of documents including the New Technology Vision, 2022. Under the Vision document, the Ministry of Rural Development envisages at least half of rural roads length to be constructed using New Technologies and Alternative Materials. Since 2013 when the Government implemented the use of Waste Plastics materials in roads construction, the New Technology Vision document plans to raise its share in road construction to 70% of the total 50% roads length earmarked for New Technologies.
An Exhibition on the sidelines of the Conference was also inaugurated by the dignitaries.