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New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) The union cabinet Thursday approved road connections for habitations with a population of 100 or more tribals in 82 Maoist-affected districts under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY).
Currently the PMGSY envisages connecting all habitations with a population of 250 people and above.
"Right now, all habitations with over 250 population have been taken up. But in most tribal areas, the density of population is very, very low. Large number of habitations but smaller number of population," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.
The habitations would, however, have only one black-topped road, he said.
The rural development ministry's proposal came after Tribal Affairs Minister Kishore Chandra Deo pointed out that bulk of the habitations in tribal areas have populations below the 250-mark.
The cabinet also approved connecting 2,687 habitations in tribal areas which had been left out, other that the 82 districts already included.
It also approved providing connectivity to these habitations, at an estimated cost of Rs.5,929 crore and allowing upgradation of certain roads measuring about 2,000 km in these areas at an estimated cost of Rs.1,000 crore.
Around 1,410 left-out unconnected habitations with population of 250 people and above in the 10 hill states and desert areas will be provided new connectivity to these habitations, at an estimated cost of Rs. 8,551 crore.
In Arunachal Pradesh, the cluster blocks approach would be extended from international border blocks to international border districts by clubbing the population within a path distance of 10 km, providing new connectivity to 126 habitations at an estimated cost of Rs.1,200 crore.
PMGSY was launched in 2000 and has the objective of providing all-weather connectivity to all unconnected habitations with population of 500 people and above 250 people and above in hilly states, desert areas, Tribal Schedule-V areas and 82 selected tribal and backward districts as identified under Integrated Action Plan in rural areas of the country.