Maharashtra government is planning an ambitious project for development of rural areas by introducing an eco-village concept, which would give incentives to villages for preserving environment.
"We are planning the eco-village concept which would serve both the purposes -- development and preservation of environment of the villages," rural development minister Jayant Patil told PTI.
Patil has sought suggestions from experts in the rural sector and activists on the issue.
"I have been discussing the issue with experts and we will try to get the plan approved by the cabinet soon.
"The rural areas are fast expanding but they have no proper development plan. We would design the plans too for these areas," an official from the rural development department said.
The project would ensure basic minimum facilities for villages like water and sanitation, power, schools and markets, the official said.
"Certain guidelines and rules would be set up for villages like using bio-gas, preserving forests, maintaining sanitation against which incentives would be given to them," the official said.
It is expected that the villages would use the incentives to develop infrastructure like roads, bridges and community centres, the official said.
"The rural development department also wants to provide uninterrupted solar power supply to the villages," the official said.
The whole project is funded by the state government and it would also bring all the rural development schemes together, the official added.
Altogether 33 districts in Maharashtra fall under the rural category. There are over around 40,000 villages in the state.