Guwahati, September 19 : In a move to expedite implementation of rural development schemes, a meeting was held in presence of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar and Minister of State for Rural Development Ram Kripal Yadav and Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi at the conference hall of Brahmaputra State Guest House on Sunday evening.
The meeting primarily discussed various aspects to stimulate rural development and several other innovative steps to bring rural development into the prime focus of the government.
In the meeting several issues were discussed to push for expeditious implementation of the projects in the areas of rural skills and rural connectivity, rural livelihood, affordable housing, rural infrastructure with special emphasis on rural economy.
Sonowal drew the attention of Narendra Singh Tomar of the severe blow that the recurring floods and erosion is dealing to the rural economy of Assam.
Sonowal said that the recurring flood in Assam and erosion posed a threat to the State and requested the Union Minister to consider Assam as a special category State and declare special schemes for Assam so that socio-cultural and economic aspects of the State get a special fillip.
The Assam CM also informed Tomar that the embankments along rivers play an important role in protecting rural economy and infrastructure, including roads and houses. Therefore, Rural Development Department should consider strengthening and repairing these embankments.
The Union Minister promised to consider the matter.
On the rural infrastructure, PMGSY and MGNREGA the meeting decided to accord the highest priority to the work envisaged under Deendayal Upadhaya Grameen KaushalyaYojana and ensure complete rural development.
Tomar also said that North East is always at the centre of attention of the Central Government and it will always work for the development of the Region.
Sonowal requested the Union Minister for creating a special provision for maintenance legacy for roads in the State as the major chunk of rural roads in Assam get washed away by the recurrent floods.
He also asked for special grants for Assam for road maintenance to which the Union Minister assured to look ino the matter sympathetically.
Sonowal even brought to the Central Ministers' notice that as per present criteria, people having houses with iron sheet roofs are excluded from the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, however, most of such houses are kutcha.
Hence, they should be considered for houses under PMAY to which the Union Minister agreed to consider the issue.
Several senior officers of the both the Central and State Governments were present at the meeting.
(Reporting by Hemanta Kumar Nath)