Millennium Post

Bengal's Panchayat system a model for entire nation, says CM

Kolkata: On the national Panchayat Raj Day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the three-tier Panchayat system in Bengal is the model followed by the country.

"Today is National #PanchayatiRaj Day. The three-tier #panchayat system in #Bangla is a model for the rest of the country. #Bangla is No. 1 in rural road construction under 100 Days' Work scheme," Banerjee tweeted on Wednesday.

After coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee gave maximum emphasis on the construction of rural roads and from then till now, over 13,571 km of rural roads connecting different villages with state or national highways have been constructed. It may be recalled that during the Left Front regime, only 10,239 km of rural roads had been built between 2001 and 2011.

During Left Front's time, the Centre used to fund the entire construction cost of rural roads. From 2015-16, the Centre reduced its percentage and now it is providing 60 percent of the cost of construction. The state government has to give 40 percent of the cost of construction, along with maintenance of the roads.

The Panchayat and Rural Development department has started construction of 8,000 km of rural roads and the department proposes to complete 35,000-odd rural roads by December 2019.

The improvement of rural connectivity has improved the standard of living of the rural populace. Because of better roads, business has gone up in the rural belts. More state-run buses have been deployed along with private buses in these areas.

Because of road accessibility, the number of school dropouts has been reduced. Many resorts and hotels have also come up to promote eco-tourism, thanks to better connectivity.

Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Bengal has done a remarkable job not only in the construction of rural roads, but also in strengthening rural economy.

The Panchayat and Rural Development department has also chalked out various schemes to make the Self Help Groups (SHGs) self-reliant. In the construction of rural roads, bricks made of fly ash which are manufactured in brick kilns run by the SHGs, have been used.

The department has also excelled in making 19 out of 23 districts open defecation free (ODF).

It may be recalled that the three-tier Panchayat system was introduced by the Left Front government. But during their rule, the condition of the villages had turned from bad to worse and the economic condition of the people had reached rock bottom.

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