RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has demanded Rs 1,100 crore from the Centre for the construction of 454 steel bridges in rural areas of the state to improve road connectivity.
In a letter written to Union Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday, Baghel stressed on the need for strengthening road connectivity in rural areas, particularly those affected by Naxal menace, an official from the public relations department said.
Baghel in his letter said there was a need to improve the living standards of people residing there, creating employment opportunities and economic welfare.
He urged the Union minister to sanction Rs 1,100 crore for the construction of 454 steel bridges in such areas, the official said.
Baghel said in the letter that his governments focus is on infrastructure development, and so far 7,300 roads of total 33,622 km length have been constructed in rural areas along with 264 long span bridges (LSB) and nine steel bridges.
Besides, construction of 1,240 roads (7,737 km) along with 114 LSB is underway.
In the state's Naxal-affected Bastar division, 1,375 roads (7,228 km) have been built so far, while 692 roads (3,009 km) are under construction, he said.
"Due to the difficult geographical terrain and Naxal activities, the construction of long span bridges is not practically feasible in Bastar region.
In that case, construction of steel bridges will be more convenient there owing to its pre-fabricated structure and minimal maintenance," he said.
He pointed out that steel bridges can also be shifted to other places according to the requirement.
Construction of such bridges will not only ensure road connectivity to tribals and villagers, but they will also have access to facilities like markets, schools, health and fair price shops.
Thus, it will increase agriculture, rural income, productivity, employment opportunities and create a better eco-system for poverty reduction in a sustainable manner, Baghel said.