Loans for development work to be given at 6 per cent rate of interest

The State government has proposed to set up a Rs. 3,250-crore revolving fund to grant loans to urban local bodies (ULBs), including city corporations, at six per cent rate of interest to take up development work.

Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake told presspersons here on Tuesday that the objective of the fund was to grant loans to urban local bodies that have been facing severe financial constraints and have not been able to provide basic amenities to citizens. The loan amount should be utilised for providing basic facilities such as drinking water, solid waste management, road connectivity, land acquisition and underground drainage.

The department officials have been told to prepare a note to be placed before the State Cabinet for approval. The department has received funds from the Union government and international funding agencies and these funds will be given to urban local bodies facing a funds crunch, he said.

Probe ordered

Mr. Sorake said that he has issued directions to the Regional Commissioner to investigate the alleged irregularities in the implementation of a Kundamestri drinking water scheme in Kodagu district and submit a report.

The project to pump water from Kundamestri to augment the water level at the Kootuhole reservoir (which caters to most of the drinking water needs of Madikeri city) was initially estimated at Rs. 7 crore and later revised to Rs. 23 crore. Now, the project cost is estimated at Rs. 80 crore.

Despite spending a huge amount, there had been no physical progress under the scheme. The department would initiate action against those who misappropriated funds on the receipt of inquiry report, he said.

The department would explore the possibilities of lifting water from the Berthi reservoir to supply drinking water to Madikeri, he said.

Fresh proposal

Mr. Sorake said that the government has submitted proposals worth Rs. 5,200 crore to the Centre for the second phase of work under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in Bangalore and Mysore cities.

Admitting irregularities in the execution of work in the first phase in these two cities, he said that the government was yet to decide whether to order a probe into the alleged irregularities.

Recently, the State received 2,100 buses of the 10,000 buses planned for other select cities across the country. More tier-II and tier-III cities would be brought under Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT), he said.

A sum of Rs. 1,000 crore has been reserved in the State Budget for the launch of the third phase of the Chief Minister’s Nagarotthana scheme, Mr. Sorake said.

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