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Hopes pinned on phase II of JNNURM scheme

S.Ganesan
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City missed out on project a few years ago on population criterion

Roadmap:P.Kumar, right, MP, holding discussions with Corporation Commissioner K.Veera Raghava Rao, centre, and city engineer S.Raja Mohamed, on Saturday.
Roadmap:P.Kumar, right, MP, holding discussions with Corporation Commissioner K.Veera Raghava Rao, centre, and city engineer S.Raja Mohamed, on Saturday.

Expectations are running high among elected representatives of the civic body and city residents as well over the possibility of Tiruchi City being included under the phase II of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) as the project could give a boost to the city's infrastructure development.

The city missed out on the project a few years back, despite several attempts made by the then elected representatives, primarily on the criterion that the city should have a minimum population of 10 lakh to be eligible for inclusion. Though it was subsequently claimed, during the previous DMK regime, that the Centre has relaxed the norm and the city has qualified for the project, there has not been much forward movement.

In recent months, there have been speculations over the possibility of city being included under the project under the phase II of the project. Though councillors at a recent Corporation Council meeting have been airing confidence over the city being included, Commissioner K.Veera Raghava Rao, while responding to councillors queries on the issue, informed the council that they have been only asked by higher officials to be ready with plans and proposals.

On Saturday, Tiruchi MP P.Kumar held discussions with Mr.Rao and senior officials of the Corporation to discuss the issue and to collect statistical details in terms of population and the population growth ratio of the city. Mr.Kumar is expected to take up the case of the city before the Parliamentary standing committee on urban development and press for its inclusion under the phase II of the project, which is expected to be finalised soon.

Senior Corporation councillors and a section of the former councillors feel that it was essential that the city, in the wake of the expansion of its boundaries to include the Tiruverumbur town panchayat and a few other village panchayats, be included under the project to give the much needed impetus for infrastructure development.

The Corporation, by itself, could not take up major capital works given the financial constraints and has to depend on funding agencies and government grants to execute development works.

They point out that the Tiruchi Corporation has already planned to draw up a development plan, through a consultant, to identify basic amenities and civic infrastructure required for the city with expanded areas.

The Corporation had drawn a Vision Plan and a Corporate Plan in 2004 identifying the infrastructure and civic requirements of the city. However, many of the projects proposed in those plans have failed to take off for want of funds. If only the city was included under JNNURM, many of the long term infrastructure development proposals could see the light of the day, says a councillor.

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