Kochi has put up a dismal performance in implementing the Centrally supported Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) projects.
The city could utilise only 35 per cent of the amount approved for projects, according to a status report on the implementation of projects released by the Ministry of Urban Development on June 30. While Kochi spent Rs.17,850 crore under the scheme, Thiruvananthapuram has spent 32 per cent of the amount and has started implementation of all five projects sanctioned.
Two of Kochi’s major projects — sewerage scheme for the central zone covering six divisions and wards of Broadway and Ernakulam Market Heritage and Urban Renewal Project — have failed to take off.
These projects were expected to be completed in March next. However, not a single penny was utilised for the projects and the physical progress has been recorded as zero per cent in the status report.
Barring the Broadway and Ernakulam Market Heritage and Urban Renewal Project sanctioned in February 2010 and the Road Improvement and Bridge Construction sanctioned in February 2009, four other projects had been sanctioned in 2007.
Only 25 per cent of the three major projects —solid waste management, road improvement and bridge construction — could be physically implemented in the city.
Though the water supply system to Kochi has made significant progress, it is still lagging behind schedule. With five months left for the deadline in December 2013, only 60 per cent of the work has been completed. The physical implementation of the project for upgrading the surface water drainage system of central Kochi was estimated to be 50 per cent. The deadline fixed for the completion of the project is March next.
The approved cost of the six JNNURM projects in Kochi was Rs.50,922 crore and the Central share is Rs.25,461 crore. According to Mission guidelines, the Centre would meet 50 per cent of the project cost. The State government should raise 30 per cent of the funds and the share of the urban local body is 20 per cent.
As the cash-strapped Kochi Corporation could not raise funds for the projects, its share was also met by the State government.
Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram were the two cities selected from the State for the Mission projects.
The Mission guideline that its funds shall not be used for land acquisition has come as a major hurdle in implementing the projects.
The local bodies and the State government had been struggling to raise funds for acquiring land for projects such as the sewage treatment plant.