Rs. 500 crore alloted for civic infrastructure improvement

The development of basic civic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, stormwater drains, sewer network, street lights, parking lots and buildings in the city will continue to gain momentum in 2012-2013.

Announcing Rs.500 crore for the Mega City Development Mission in the Assembly on Monday, Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam said the 2011-2012 Budget too had made an allocation of Rs. 500 crore of which Chennai Corporation had taken up works at a cost of Rs. 333.27 crore. The balance amount, he said, was being utilised for augmenting water supply.

Pointing to the fact that Tamil Nadu is the most urbanised State in the country with 48.45 per cent of the population living in urban areas, Mr. Panneerselvam said the growth in urban infrastructure had not kept pace with the growth in urban population. “It was to bridge this infrastructure gap that the government had launched the Mega City Development Mission,” said Mr. Panneerselvam.

The Chennai Metropolitan Area is expected to grow into a mega city with a population of more than 10 million within a decade. The money allocated under the mission would supplement the available funds under various schemes to give fillip to the development of basic amenities in the city.

A grid system of roads, streetlights, street furniture, footpaths, parking space and stormwater drains in all eight zones comprising areas newly added to the Chennai Corporation limits is being developed with funds of the Mega City Development Mission.

Using the funds, Chennai Metrowater is also implementing projects to enhance the capacity of sewerage pipeline, improve sewage pumping stations and also strengthen the water distribution network in the city. The water agency was allocated around Rs.189.10 crore under the mission in the previous budget. This year too, Metrowater has sought funds to improve the water distribution and sewerage network, including replacement of old pipelines in the city.

The detailed project report of the Chennai Mega City Development Mission was prepared by the Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructural Financial Services Limited, which is the nodal agency. The Chennai Corporation council had passed a resolution accepting the detailed project report in November 2011 and sent it for administrative sanction.

According to the project report, a total of Rs. 2,032 crore was proposed to be spent in 2012-2013. The mission requires a sum of Rs. 7,678 crore over the next five years. The focus would be on upgrading arterial roads in the city with an estimated sum of Rs. 5,555.25 crore over the next five years.

Apart from civic infrastructure development, the budget announcement permitting higher Floor Space Index for low income and middle income houses is likely to improve affordable housing in the city too. The higher FSI would be permitted without insistence on premium FSI charges, so that the cost of such flats comes down. “With increasing land prices, affordable housing is becoming a distant dream for the poor and middle class people,” said Mr. Panneerselvam, explaining the government's decision.

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