Centre keen to improve road link to tribal regions: Minister

Centre keen to improve road link to tribal regions: Minister

The Centre was keen to improve road connectivity to tribal and remote regions to ensure their development, Union Tribal Affairs and Panchayati Raj Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo said today.

Improving infrastructure, especially road connectivity, is the only way to ensure fast-paced development of tribal and remote places in the country, he said during a visit here in Andhra Pradesh.

The Union Government was spending Rs 7,200 crore under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP), a programme which aims to provide a fillip to development schemes in tribal and backward regions, mostly affected by Naxal violence.

The Centre initially identified 60 districts in the country to be covered under IAP and later extended it to another 18. North Andhra districts of Srikakulam, East Godavari, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam besides Adilabad, Khammam, Warangal and Karimnagar have been brought under IAP.

Speaking on the issue of Minimum Support Price, Deo said the proposal for MSP for non-timber forest produce had been cleared by the Planning Commission and it was awaiting clearance of the Expenditure Finance Committee.

The Minister said he hoped the proposal, which aims to provide better prices to the tribals for their collection of non-timber forest produce, would be implemented soon.

Speaking on Panchayat Raj Institutions, he said delay in conducting elections to the local bodies in Andhra Pradesh would affect the release of Central funds up to Rs 1,500 crore.