Special Correspondent

Funds will be released from Central Special Purpose Vehicle

Foundation laid for first phase of the projectThis year, thrust will be on developing infrastructure, particularly roads sectorHyderabad to receive liberal assistance

HYDERABAD: Assuring wholehearted support to the Rs. 3,000-crore ambitious Hyderabad Outer Ring Road (ORR) plan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday agreed to extend the viability gap funding mechanism and assistance under the National Urban Renewal Programme to it.

"If necessary, funds from the Central Special Purpose Vehicle on infrastructure will be given to complete the project," he announced while addressing a public meeting at Shamshabad near here after laying the foundation stone for the first phase of the ORR project. "This is a project with immense potential and will have all our backing."

Land acquisition on

Works on the first phase of the 162-km-long eight-lane ORR would begin in March and be completed by March 2008. Land acquisition was already on for the second phase, which was likely to be commissioned in December 2008.

Dubbing the year 2006 the year of investment in infrastructure facilities, the Prime Minister said the Centre had imparted a new thrust to infrastructure development, particularly in the roads sector. A staggering Rs. 1,70,000 crore was earmarked for development of roads in the coming seven years.

"The effort is to link the hinterlands with the cities and all corners fuelling rapid economic growth. Roads are lifelines to new economic growth centres." More than 6,000 km of road works were taken up last year as against 2,500 km in 2000-2001. All villages in the country would have pucca roads in the next four years, he remarked.

City of promise

He wanted Hyderabad to exploit its strategic central location connecting the four corners of the country. "It is a city of promise making rapid strides in various sectors. I hope it emerges as one of the nation's biggest industrial and economic centres," he observed.

The Union Minister for Urban Development S. Jaipal Reddy said the urban sector was subjected to gross neglect over the years. "Urban infrastructure is collapsing under the weight of growing population," he pointed out. He assured that Hyderabad would receive liberal assistance from the Centre and expressed Centre's willingness to finance radial roads as a part of ORR.

Focus on development

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy said development took a backseat during the last decade and the Congress Government was according due importance to urban development. He said ORR was taken up to ease the traffic congestion in the city. Governor, Sushilkumar Shinde, Municipal Administration Minister Koneru Ranga Rao, Ministers -- Sabitha Indra Reddy and P. Laxmaiah-- HUDA chairman Sudheer Reddy and a host of officials were present.

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