NEW DELHI, June 9 � Cutting across party lines, the MPs of the north-eastern States called for relaxation of some of the norms relating to the allocation of grants in view of their unique geography, topology and the requirements of the hilly terrain.
An all-party delegation of MPs from the region, comprising 11 MPs, held an interactive session with Union Minister of Rural Development, Vilasrao Deshmukh at Krishi Bhawan here yesterday to take stock of the implementation of flagship programs in their respective States. Union Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha Sangma was present on this occasion.
The MPs, who were part of the delegation included Sansuma Khunggur Bwismuthiary, Dr Thokchom Meinya, CL Ruala, Reishang Keishing, Biswajit Daimary, Thango Baite, Mukut Mithi, Paban Singh Ghatowar, Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, Khekiho Zhimomi, among others.
The meeting was attended by the Secretary, Rural Development BK Sinha, Secretary Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation, AK Mishra, Secretary Land Resources Aneeta Chaudhary along with other senior officials of the Ministry of Rural Development.
Sources said some of the MPs lamented the poor progress under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA in the region and called upon the need to release the wages for 50 days in first tranche. Another demand was raised regarding relaxation in 60:40 norms under MGNREGA .
Secretary Rural Development made it clear that the norms are according to the provisions of the Act. The unavailability of banking services also came up during the discussions.
A few of the MPs demanded that the funding under Indira Awas Yojana for construction and or up gradate of houses for the BPL in North-east States needs to be augmented from the existing ceiling of Rs 48,500 and that indigenous material should be allowed to be used for the construction purposes.
Deshmukh said these issues are being looked into and efforts are on to streamline the process so that the benefits of inclusive growth reach out to the needy and the poor in time. Issues related to drinking water supply and sanitation also figured during the discussions. The participants welcomed the initiative taken by the Rural Development Ministry and said this is a step in right direction.
In a first of its kind interaction with leaders from all the political parties in the region, Deshmukh shared the views of the elected representatives regarding the rural employment, rural roads, rural housing and rural drinking water in the region and assured all possible help from the Centre in the effective implementation of the programmes.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana figured prominently in the discussions, wherein the MPs raised the demands to not to link the rural road construction with the population, ensuring the quality and maintenance of roads, MPs to be consulted in project implementation, permission to allow the construction of bridges up to a span of 100 metres in place of 50 meters with full funding by the Centre.