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‘No naming rural roads scheme after Vajpayee’

Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) demand for naming the Centre’s rural road scheme after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has found no favour with the government. Acknowledging that Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana was started by Vajpayee when he was the prime minister, the government said the scheme was turned into a reality by the UPA.

‘It is true that PMGSY scheme was started in 2000 when Vajpayee was the prime minister, but it started with a kavita (poem) and it was the responsibility of the UPA to turn the poem into a reality,’ rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said. The minister said initially in six years between 2000 and 2006 the scheme mostly remained in words only and it was the UPA government that pushed the scheme vigorously on the ground making sufficient budget allocations.

The BJP, however, was not too pleased with Ramesh’s dig at the former prime minister. Jairam Ramesh has the habit of speaking without thinking, he should instead write a poem on what all has the UPA government achieved during the last ten years’ BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Meanwhile, on one hand where the finance ministry has made it clear that it will slash funds of rural development ministry, Ramesh announced that there will be an additional fund of Rs 38,500 crore for PMGSY. The additional fund is for unconnected habitations in tribal areas, hill states with habitations which have population of 250 persons,  habitations with population of 100 persons in naxal affected districts and providing new connectivity to 126 habitations at the border in state of Arunachal Pradesh.
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