Port Blair, July 18: The Directorate of Rural Development/Panchayati Raj Institutions/Urban Local Bodies has started functioning from its aesthetically designed new building situated at Marine Hill, Port Blair. The Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Shri Chetan, B. Sanghi, as the chief guest inaugurated the newly constructed administrative building of the RD/PRIs/ULBs in the presence of the ex-Member of Parliament, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray, Senior Officers of the Administration and the staff incumbent of the Department of RD/PRIs/ULBs. Addressing the gathering on the occasion, the Chief Secretary stated that Govt. of India and the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi is giving special attention towards rural development in these Islands and the different projects under Rural Development are being monitored through video conferencing and by holding meetings in Delhi on a regular basis. The Chief Secretary said that the Prime Minister, during his visit to these Islands had announced the rural road scheme and had said that rural roads will be constructed throughout the Islands. The Chief Secretary further mentioned that a fund of Rs 200 crores has been sanctioned for the rural road scheme for A&N Islands by the Central Govt. The Administration is preparing the project reports so that the funds are released for taking up rural road works in the villages. The funds will be utilized in the next two years’ time and a remarkable change can be witnessed in the rural road sector in these Islands in the coming days, he said. He also showered all praise for the ex-Member of Parliament, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray for his contribution in getting the funds cleared for rural road construction in the Isles.
The Chief Secretary said that another work the Rural Development Department had taken up is providing drinking water to all the villages, details of which is being prepared while the APWD has also prepared a master plan in this regard and both RD and APWD will jointly execute this project. The Govt. of India has set 2024 as the target for providing water to all the villages through pipelines. The A&N Administration will ensure that this project is completed before the target date and drinking water is provided to all the legally settled people in rural areas, said the Chief Secretary. Referring to the Rural Housing Scheme, the Chief Secretary said that A&N Administration is also implementing the scheme so that every villager gets his own house. Beneficiaries have been identified as per the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data and now the scheme is fully ready for implementation. He urged the RD Department to take up this project on priority basis for its meaningful completion. The Chief Secretary also emphasised on the need for paying earnest attention to Solid Waste Management in rural areas, as being done in urban areas and tourist places. He urged for creating better sewerage and drainage system in rural areas for effective Solid Waste Management. The Administration is constantly monitoring the project and efforts are being made to implement Solid Waste Management effectively, in rural areas too, the CS said. The Chief Secretary described RD/PRIs/ULBs as a major Department and said, the new infrastructure created today will provide enough space and good ambience for the staff thus increase productivity. He also congratulated the Andaman Public Works Department for completing the project in two years time despite various challenges. The Chief Secretary also planted a sapling in the precinct of the campus. Speaking on the occasion, the Secretary, RD/PRIs/ULBs, Shri Udit Prakash Rai said the newly inaugurated building is a symbol of rural development and it is important not only for Govt of India but for the A&N Administration as well. The RD Department acts as a link between the PRIs and the Administration, he said. The Prime Minister has set target in different sectors of rural development such as housing for every villager, provision of round the year drinking water facility for every household and rural road for every village. The Department is committed to achieving these targets, the Secretary added. Mentioning that the building has been built in record time, the RD Secretary said apart from the basic facilities for the staff, a spacious hall has been created for conducting training for PRI members. Creation of lift facility for the new building has also been planned, the Secretary said adding that efforts are also on to create a small Training Unit of NIRD in the new building.
Informing about the salient features of the building, the Chief Engineer, APWD, Shri D Balaji said the triple storied building is earthquake resistant and has rainwater harvesting system. All the three floors have the required basic facilities besides spacious rooms for staff; while ramp facilities have also been created for Divyangjans. The construction began in the year 2017 and has been completed in 2019, he added. The function concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by Director, RD/PRI, Ms Nidhi Sarohe.