Union Minister for Urban Development S. Jaipal Reddy has assured the people of the city that the Central government will sanction the flyover at Benz Circle under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

He was responding to a plethora of requests and suggestions for the city development from various walks of life at a meeting organised by the Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Minister wanted them to form a team and come out with a realistic plan for the development of the city in view of the “topographical constraints” like scarcity of land and the city being locked between canals and hills.

Delivering a talk on “Urbanisation - New Challenges”, he said that the Central government had sanctioned schemes worth a staggering Rs. 1.12 lakh crore under JNNURM across the country during the last four and a half years, while the set target was only Rs. 1 lakh crore. Eighty per cent of the schemes sanctioned related to basic utilities and requirements like drinking water, sewerage, stormwater drains and housing for urban poor. Flyovers and bridges were hardly sanctioned, he said, adding, “But I assure you that the flyover at Benz Circle that you all have been asking for will be sanctioned.”

Referring to a request for expansion of the Gannavaram airport, he stated, “I assure you sanction of funds for it. But, for other matters, you should go all out in realising it.” Responding to a suggestion made by academician M. C. Das, the Minister said it would be a good idea to have a circular train connecting Vijayawada, Guntur, Tenali and Ramavarappadu to ease traffic on roads.

Speaking about the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project, Mr. Jaipal Reddy said more than 15,200 buses were purchased under JNNURM. Of these, 8,000 buses were released across the country. Excluding the buses sanctioned under JNNURM, 240 buses were sanctioned to the city. Half of the cost of these buses was borne by the Central government, he said.

Earlier, former Minister Devineni Rajasekhar (Nehru) expressed the view that the speakers should form a committee and show a land of 500 acres in the district so that the government took up projects suggested by them.

Mayor M.V. Ratna Bindu, MLC Paladugu Venkat Rao, Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal, Vijayawada West MLA Vellampalli Srinivas and Vijayawada Central MLA Malladi Vishnu were present. The Minister earlier visited the Jakkampudi housing complex and inaugurated the first phase of the Inner Ring Road (IRR) at Pipula Road.

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