Border work after assessment: Rymbui

GUWAHATI: Border areas development minister Lahkmen Rymbui has said a proper assessment would be made before taking up development projects in the border areas of Meghalaya.
Rymbui who had taken over charge of the border areas development department only on Thursday said he would soon take feedback from the department officials.
“I have to talk to officers of the department regarding the work done in the past five years and see what is there and not there on the table. We have to work in close coordination with other departments as well to find out ways and means to plug the loopholes in areas like road connectivity, health services, etc,” the minister told The Shillong Times on Friday.
Rymbui said the department was primarily created for development of areas along the international border (Bangladesh).
“However, some provision in the state budget was made by the previous dispensation for development of areas along the inter-state border,” he said.
The Cabinet minister said the department would be looking at timely implementation of development projects along the international border. “We are getting central assistance of Rs 25crore which will be shared for development work along the border from Jaintia Hills to Garo Hills,’’ he said.
Meghalaya along with eight other states with international border had received Rs 167 crore from the home ministry under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) for the development of infrastructure in forward areas.
The fully centrally funded BADP covers villages located within 0-10 km of the international border in 17 states. The schemes permissible under BADP include activities relating to the cleanliness mission, skill development, promotion of sports, rural tourism, border tourism and protection of heritage sites. Construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible hilly areas which do not have road connectivity, skill development training to farmers for the use of modern and scientific technique in farming, organic farming are other areas which come under BADP.
The state government had prepared a master list of border villages in 1974 for implementation of schemes under BADP. The list was revised in 1982, 1992 and 2015.
At present, there are close to 1,700 villages in the border areas, covering an area of 8,860 sq. km and running laterally from Dona Malidor in Jaintia Hills to Mahendraganj in West Garo Hills.

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