Many local bodies yet to prepare detailed project report

The delay in roping in experts to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for securing funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) may cost the State dear.

The State had not been able to make much progress in finalising projects and preparing the DPR for the urban infrastructure augmentation scheme though the deadline for submission of the projects is just a couple of months away, sources told The Hindu.

The official launch of JNNURM phase II is likely after the Lok Sabha elections. The Centre has announced a financial assistance of Rs.15,000 crore for the scheme till 2014 as a stop-gap arrangement to ensure that the ongoing projects are not affected mid-way.

The projects were sanctioned on a first come, first served basis and on the merits and yardsticks fixed by the Urban Development Ministry. Presenting old and unrealistic projects without proper documentation would be detrimental to Kerala as the State would have to compete with States submitting DPR after proper homework.  

“As in the first phase of the JNNURM, the State is faltering in DPR preparation. It is the prime concern now as the deadline is fast approaching. Urban bodies do not have the expertise and money to rope in approved agencies and consultants,” sources said.

Some urban local bodies including Malappuram and Kalamassery have recruited approved consultants to prepare the projects. Others like the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation are groping in the dark even as the Kerala State Urban Development Project is gearing up to submit the first tranche of projects this month. The State had received severe flak for not finishing projects initiated in the first phase of JNNURM scheme. Already, two sanctioned projects for the State have been shelved. The JNNURM-I, which officially ended in March, involved Central aid of at least Rs.60,000 crore. Since many projects undertaken between 2007 and 2012 are still incomplete, the government has extended the deadline by another two years. It is learnt that JNNURM-II which would be for 10 years would be pegged at Rs.1.5 lakh crore.

Sources said 65 urban local bodies were eligible for assistance and the only way forward was to help them prepare the DPR. Acknowledging that preparation of DPR was the biggest hurdle in securing JNNURM funds, Minister for Urban Affairs Manjalamkuzhi Ali told The Hindu that project reports to the tune of Rs.700 crore was ready. “We are trying to rope in consultants through transparent bidding process and to train the municipal staff to prepare DPR,” he added.

More In: Kerala | National