The approval was also granted for sanctioning Rs 65 crore for expansion of telecom services and increasing connectivity in remote areas.
New Delhi: In a major boost towards kickstarting various development initiatives for the Naxal-infested Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, the Niti Aayog is learnt to have given an “in principle” approval to a comprehensive development initiative.
Allowing access to various services like health, education, roads, banking as well as telecommunication facilities in those areas of the region, which were out of bounds owing to the Naxal-related violence, is one of the most important takeaways for the state government from the development.
The decision to allow relaxation for providing people living in the region access to such basic facilities like health and education was taken after a high level meeting which took place between top officials of the Chhattisgarh government with Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar earlier this week. Secretaries from several key Union ministries like home, finance and health were also present during the meeting, sources privy to development told this newspaper.
Some major concerns raised by the state government officials were delay in disbursement of funds, which have been allotted by the Centre for Bastar. Also several proposals related to building of roads, providing banking facilities and setting up of telecommunication network there, were also discussed.
After detailed discussions with officials of the concerned Union ministries, it was decided to give ‘in principle’ approval for initiating all these processes, sources informed further.
They stated that approval was also given for expansion of banking services in remote rural areas of Bastar region and the Department of Financial Services has assured that they will immediately take up with banks to ensure that 88 new branches were opened in these areas.
The approval was also granted for sanctioning Rs 65 crore for expansion of telecom services and increasing connectivity in remote areas. The amount will be utilised for expansion of districts to development blocks connectivity in Bastar and expedite execution of 402 towers in the first phase and 1028 telecom towers in the second phase, official sources said.
Niti Aayog sources said that it was for the first time that go ahead for several key initiatives were given in the span of a single meeting. With state government officials having got the opportunity to raise all pending issues with the concerned Union ministries’ representatives.
Among the important approvals given by the Government think tank were construction of an additional 600 km of roads in Bastar under Rashtriya Road project with the Special Secretary (in the Union Home Ministry) having assured that implementation of this proposal will be done on priority.