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State drags its feet on rurban mission

ROQUE DIAS | NT

Margao   

The state government has been dragging its feet on implementing the Shyama Prasad Mukerjee Rurban Mission. Under the mission,   two clusters    – one at Xeldem-Barcem in Quepem taluka and another at Saligao in Bardez taluka – are to be developed.  However, even after four years of the mission launch, no significant headway has been made especially for the Saligao cluster.

The two clusters are among the 300 such clusters chosen in the country under the mission in 2016, with an aim to deliver catalytic interventions of rural areas on the threshold of growth.

The main objective of the mission is to stimulate local economic development, enhance basic services, and create well-planned rurban clusters for locals.

The integrated cluster action plan   was prepared and submitted for the Xeldem-Barcem cluster. Later, the   district planning report on the cluster was prepared that was approved by the state-level empowered committee on February 12.

However, nothing much is happening as far   as the Saligao cluster is concerned, as it is still at the gestation stage.

This sluggishness had raised the hackles of Amarjeet Sinha, rural development secretary of the central government.

On January 23, 2018, Sinha wrote to the state and warned that if it was not serious about the mission then

clusters could be allocated to some other state. 

Rs 100 crore each are to be spent on the clusters:  70 per cent of the funds must be mobilised by the state through convergence, while 30 per cent of funds will be given by the central government in instalments.

Project officer of the RDA S Gaonkar said the action plan has been ready, claiming that since 2016 the state government has done a lot of work in this connection.

Gaonkar made as power-point presentation to sarpanchas of the 11 panchayats coming under the Xeldem-Barcem cluster and other functionaries, who were apprised of the DPR vis-à-vis the critical gap funding.

Under the mission, the government received Rs 5.40 crore from the Centre for the Xeldem-Barcem cluster as a first instalment.

An amount of Rs 3.60 crore has been sought from the state government to start the work, which is based on 11 components.

It is pertinent to note here that Sinha in his letter had pointed   out that the said DPR was not submitted and that the state government has not released its share of Rs 3.60 crores as the first instalment

The DPR prepared by the Goa College of Engineering could be a game-changer for the villages.

The RDA will spend Rs 1. 47 crore for training members of various self-help groups. 

It is expected that the initiative will be a big boost to the 11 panchayats of the Xeldem-Barcem cluster, which has a garbage management plan in place.

The  mission focuses  on skill  development training (linking to economic activities); agri-services and processing;  digital literacy;  citizens  service centre;   piped water 24×7; sanitation;  solid and liquid waste management; access to village streets and drains;  streetlights; human health; public transport improvement; social infrastructure and tourism promotion.

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