Special Correspondent

Civic body has drawn up more than 10 infrastructure schemes

COIMBATORE: The Coimbatore Corporation plans to make a fervent appeal to the State Government to provide a grant for meeting 20 per cent of the cost of the Rs.377-crore underground drainage scheme.

With only 20 per cent of the city having underground sewers, the rest is to be covered by this scheme under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. The mission says that the Central Government will provide 50 per cent of the project cost as grant and the State Government 20 per cent. The civic body will have to fork out the rest. But, the Corporation has been witnessing resentment among the Opposition parties over the State Government saying that it can provide only an interest-free loan and not a 20 per cent grant.

The parties have already said they were upset with the State Government’s decision to provide only an interest-free loan to meet 20 per cent of the cost of the Rs.113-crore Pilloor Phase II drinking water scheme that is also to be implemented under the mission. The Corporation has drawn up more than 10 major infrastructure development schemes with an outlay of Rs.3,100 crore. If all these were to get only an interest-free loan from the State Government, its financial burden will be more than Rs.1,500 crore. The civic body will have to raise loans for its share of 30 per cent of the project cost.

Its earlier appeal for 20 per cent grant for the water scheme was rejected by the State Government. And, Corporation sources said that the Government feared a huge financial burden if it were to provide grants, especially when three cities (Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai) had been included under the mission for infrastructures schemes worth thousands of crores. Therefore, the Corporation Council recently moved a resolution to appeal to the State Government to provide the 20 per cent funds for the drainage scheme as a grant and not loan.

The Corporation’s 30 per cent share of the drainage scheme cost is Rs.113 crore. The Centre will provide Rs.188 crore as its 50 per cent grant.

The State Government has decided to provide more than Rs.75 as loan. This amount and the loan that the Corporation may avail itself of to meet its 30 per cent commitment will have to be repaid in seven years.

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