Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has instructed officials to prepare an action plan to ensure development in some of the most backward villages of the State.Under the project, the government would look to provide basic facilities in villages with substantial populations of disadvantaged sections.The villages identified under the project would be provided with the benefits of 23 schemes run by the State, covering needs such as housing, drinking water, roads, electricity, common property resources and skill development.Across the State, 1,500 such villages have been identified for the project, a government spokesperson said.Among the villages hand-picked for the project are five forest-dwelling or ‘Vantangiya’ villages in Gorakhpur, the CM’s constituency. As a “Diwali gift”, Mr. Adityanath had in October declared these five settlements — Tikonia numver-3, Rajhi Chilbila, Aam Bagh, Rambagh and Sarkar — as revenue villages, which opened up the scope for administrative efforts to develop the area and provide inhabitants a wider range of employment and utilisation of resources previously prohibited by the Forest Act.Revenue villages are small administrative units with well-defined borders. The Vantangiyas were brought from Myanmar during the British period for afforestation programmes.The government has also selected 30 villages in Maharajganj, which adjoins Gorakhpur; some villages in Bundelkhand; 76 villages in Saharanpur along the Uttarakhand border; and 80 villages in Noida.The villages that share a border with other States or Nepal will be included in the first phase of the scheme.The spokesperson said that in a meeting chaired by Mr. Adityanath on Thursday night, the CM instructed officials to draft a scheme for the neglected villages in levels, so that funds could be utilised better. Mr. Adityanath noted that even after many years of independence, there were still villages, tolas, hamlets and pockets of villages belonging to disadvantaged castes and sections bereft of basic living amenities in the State.“He said that three-fourths of the population of U.P. is rural. For the holistic development of the State, priority should be to provide basic facilities for rural people,” the government spokesperson said, quoting Mr. Adityanath.