TAMIL NADU

Rs. 95 crs. for airport, Rs. 109 crs. for Metro Rail

BANGALORE, MARCH 11. The first greenfield international airport project to be taken up on public-private partnership basis at Devanahalli, near here, today received Rs. 95 crores as State support in the budget. Work on the airport will commence shortly, the Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister, Siddaramaiah, has said.

Presenting the budget in the Legislative Assembly today, he said the international airport will position Bangalore as an important passenger and cargo hub in the region and provide a fillip to tourism and exports.

Referring to the Metro Rail project, he said the citizens of Bangalore are eagerly expecting the commencement of the services. The State Cabinet cleared the project recently, and the clearance of the Union Government is expected. For the implementation of this ambitious project "I propose to set apart Rs. 109 crores," he said.

The budget has attempted to address the demands of the information technology (IT) sector for better roads, especially in the periphery of Bangalore, where many IT firms are concentrated. The Government has taken up improvement of roads in the city suburbs at a cost of Rs. 40 crores with private partnership, the Finance Minister said.

The Union Government has come forward to construct an elevated road to Electronics City, parallel to Hosur Road, and to facilitate construction of this road, the State Government will build other roads to divert traffic. The Bangalore Development Authority plans to develop a Hi-tech City near Hosur-Sarjapur Road at an estimated cost of Rs. 460 crores, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

For the biotechnology industry, the Government will provide Rs. 6.5 crores to set up a Biotech Park in Electronics City.

Railway projects

Mr. Siddaramaiah has set apart Rs. 51 crores for the completion of pending railway projects. The Railways and the State Government are keen on completing projects on a cost-sharing basis.

He announced the extension of the Traffic Management Fund constituted in Bangalore to six other city municipal corporations. Under the fund implemented in Bangalore, 50 per cent of the amount collected as traffic fines by the police will be diverted to the fund to improve traffic management.

For shepherds

Mr. Siddaramaiah, who is from the Kuruba community, announced an insurance scheme for shepherds, "Karnataka Janashree Vima Yojana," to be implemented over three years with an initial allocation of Rs. 5 crores. Sheep rearing is an important activity, and shepherds are frequently exposed to calamities and they suffer losses, he said.

The Minister announced an increase of 18 per cent in the allocation to the health sector, and said Government support to public health intervention is essential and appropriate as the services are in the nature of public good. The Government would provide CT scan equipment to all district hospitals at a cost of Rs. 8 crores to ensure that the facility is available to the poor. Haveri, Koppal, Gulbarga, and Chamarajanagar districts lack health infrastructure and Rs. 23 crores will be release for upgrading the district hospitals there. The financial allocations for autonomous health institutions such as Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology and Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health have been increased from Rs. 57.67 crores to Rs. 76.08 crores.