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A longer wait to strengthen infrastructure under JNNURM

Anil Kumar Sastry
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Ministry returns DPRs of 213 projects

Tier-II and tier-III cities and towns in Karnataka have missed an opportunity to strengthen their infrastructure as the Urban Development Ministry has sanctioned only 33 of 246 projects for which assistance was sought under the transition phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

The Ministry has returned the detailed project reports (DPRs) with regard to 213 projects on the grounds of enforcement of the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections and the closure of the JNNURM’s transition phase on March 31, 2014. While a senior official in the Municipal Administration Department said they were clueless about the DPRs being returned, an analysis of the sanctioned and the returned DPRs indicate that those sanctioned were cleared by the State-level steering committee before September 2013 and those returned were cleared after October 2013. Some of the proposals were submitted to the Centre as late as February 2014, just a month before the closure of the transition phase.

While 63 large and major cities, including Bangalore and Mysore in Karnataka, were beneficiaries of the JNNURM, other towns and cities were catered to by the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT), a component of the JNNURM. The mission, which came to an end on March 31, 2012, was extended for two years as transition phase to allow completion of the ongoing projects and to take up new projects by March 31, 2014.

Breakup of cost

Under the UIDSSMT, the Union government provides 80 per cent of the project cost, the State 10 per cent and the implementing agency/urban local body has to raise the remaining 10 per cent. Components of assistance under the scheme include all urban infrastructure development projects — water supply, roads, parking space, solid waste management, sewerage system, urban renewal, preservation of water bodies and prevention of soil erosion.

The official said that the projects would have substantially reduced the burden of the State government or the urban local body concerned as the Union government would have taken care of 80 per cent of the project cost. The DPRs had been returned on technical grounds and the department was hopeful of revival of the JNNURM under Phase 2, the official said.

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