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10 p.c. JNNURM funds may be withheld

Nagesh Prabhu
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The Yeshwanthpur TTMC in Bangalore was built with JNNURM funds. — File Photo: G.R.N. Somashekar
The Yeshwanthpur TTMC in Bangalore was built with JNNURM funds. — File Photo: G.R.N. Somashekar

The Union Government is unlikely to release 10 per cent of its share of funds to the State for the implementation of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) projects in Bangalore and Mysore owing to the delay on the part of the State Government in implementing some major reforms suggested by the former.

Of the 35 mandatory reforms recommended, 26 have been introduced so far.

Poor show

The State has so far completed only 23 of the 66 projects (Rs. 4,622.97 crore) approved by the Union Government under the seven-year JNNURM scheme, which comes to an end in March 2012.

A sum of Rs. 2,632.98 crore has been spent, including Rs. 1,512.21 crore released by the Union Government, and funds from urban local bodies and individual beneficiaries.

As many as 20 detailed project reports for an estimated investment of Rs. 1,669.21 crore are pending approval of the Union Government, requiring an additional central assistance of Rs. 959.07 crore.

Reforms sought

Officials in the Urban Development Department told The Hindu that the Union Government had withheld release of 10 per cent of its share of funds — approximately Rs. 150 crore — to the State, because of non-introduction of nine major reforms in different sectors.

Even though Karnataka is ahead of others in implementing the projects and reforms, the State Government is noncommittal about introducing key reforms such as formation of a Bangalore Metropolitan Council that grants more power to the Mayor, property title certification system, reduction of stamp duty by 1 per cent, seven-point charter involving basic services for the urban poor in Bangalore and Mysore, making it mandatory for all private developers to set aside 10 per cent of developed land in residential layouts for the urban poor, and formulation of parking and advertisement policies. The introduction of a property title certification system for all landed property is yet to take shape. Swati Ramanathan of Janaagraha, a non-profit organisation, has submitted a report to the Union Government recommending measures for implementation of the system.

The Union Government is expected to frame broad guidelines to draft laws in States, the officials said. Under this system, the Government will stand guarantee for each property to avoid any dispute.

The State has also been delaying the reduction of stamp duty from six per cent to five per cent for registration of property. It is expected to take the decision on reducing the rate of stamp duty after completion of the guidance value revision process.

The duty regime has to be uniform across the country.

Delays

Officials pointed out that redesigning, protests, delay in land acquisition, poor response from contractors, and re-tendering had delayed several infrastructure projects in both cities.

Underpasses at Ring Road-Nagavara Road Junction (Rs. 21.62 crore) have been redesigned on account of the high water-table in the area.

Work on the underpass at Ring Road-C.N.R. Rao Circle Junction (Rs. 22.6 crore) has been delayed because of hurdles in land acquisition and permission for tree felling.

Similarly, work on the underpass at Tagore Circle (Rs. 17.55 crore) has been delayed because of protests by the public.

There was delay in commencement of sanitation projects at K.R. Puram and Mahadevapura, and the underground drainage system at Dasarahalli and Bommanahalli.

In Mysore too

In Mysore, work has been delayed on four projects approved for the city, including supply of drinking water from the Kabini (Rs. 108.82 crore), remodelling of storm-water drains (Rs. 100 crore) and development of integrated municipal solid waste management for the city on a public-private partnership model (Rs. 29.98 crore).

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