STAFF REPORTER/DIPR IMPHAL, 4th May: In-spite of being entrusted with various major infrastructure development projects across the state, Manipur Development Society (MDS) could not complete the assigned tasks within the stipulated period due to delay in release of fund by both the state and the Union governments, said MDS project director Salam Rajkumar.
Addressing media persons during the series of press conference at DIPR office complex, Moirangkhom here on Friday, Rajkumar conceded that with the exception of implementing routine agricultural projects the Society is yet to start other infrastructure development schemes in the agricultural sector owing to stalling of the funding process since 2015-16.
However, projects relating to handloom development are progressing smoothly as most of them are classified as routine schemes for which timely fund release is mandatory, the project director mentioned, adding that the hardest hit projects assigned to the MDS is in the tourism sector.
Citing delay in completing Kaina and other tourism development projects to substantiate his contention of fund crunch hindering progress of some vital projects, Rajkumar, however, stated that the Churachandpur circuit and Mahabali tourism works could be completed as funds were released on time.
During the media briefing which was also attended by MDS administrative officer Sougrakpam Ranjit Singh, Deputy Director (Agriculture) S Janmanjoy Singh, Deputy Director (Handloom) N Rajmani Singh and AE Dr N Rojendro Singh, the officials elaborated on the on-going schemes and achievements of the Society.
It is said that MDS was set up in 1983 under the Planning Commission of India to generate employment schemes in the field of Handloom, Agriculture and Engineering covering mostly rural areas in the valley and hill areas of the state. The main objective of the Society is to bring about a comprehensive all round development in the rural areas and the schemes implemented by the Society are in addition to the normal schemes of the departments concerned.
While pointing out that MDS has been taking up schemes for construction of social infrastructure such as community hall, bus waiting shed, ‘pay and use’ toilets, multipurpose hall, irrigation, canal and ring bunds, they also informed that handloom sector projects are aimed at generating employment and promote handloom industries through increasing production centres/self-help groups, providing skill development training, looms and accessories at subsidised rates and working capital in the form of raw materials.
The handloom items produced are directly marketed by MDS through its retail outlets, mobile vans, exhibitions and bulk sales by government and bulk buyers.
The schemes under agriculture cover promotion of collective farming, conduct of awareness programme and implementation, promote intensive cropping and area expansion of fallow lands under paddy crops by providing inputs and technical support, the official mentioned.
Moreover, farmers are trained in modern agricultural practices and use of technology by providing basic concept of soil conservation, water management, pest control & management, efficient utilization of nutrients and chemical, post harvesting technology, resource management, etc.
Agriculture being the main economic activity of the state, MDS has been actively participating in this process by providing agriculture infrastructure in the form of medium scale irrigation facilities by constructing irrigation tanks, canals, ring bunds, etc., as well as providing well-equipped pump houses. Market sheds are also introduced for providing market facilities and to fill the gap between the producers and the buyers. The scheme has benefitted quite a lot of farmers and traders operating in rural and semi urban areas, the officials maintained.
Some major deposit works entrusted to MDS under the funding of state and Central governments include development of infrastructure in 27 TD blocks under tribal areas, infrastructure development of National sports academy at Khuman Lampak, district sports complexes, construction of tourist infrastructure under tourism department, construction of cricket stadium and tensile roofing at Luwangsangbam, construction of tribal markets and hostel for TD & Hills department, construction of nursing hostel, district hospitals, CHCs, PHCs, PHSCs and other infrastructure for health, ayush and family welfare department, construction of warehouses for FCI in Churachanpdur and Thoubal districts.