November 21, 2008

Bengal to focus on developing small, medium towns

KOLKATA, 21th November, 2008: The West Bengal Government has decided to accord top priority to the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) to benefit more people with urban li festyle.

Announcing this after a review meeting of JNNURM, convened by the Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the State's Urban Development Minister Mr Asok Bhattacharya said that the Chief Minister would soon urge the Union Urban Development Minister, M r S. Jaipal Reddy, to divert at least Rs 500 crore for UIDSSMT from allocation for upgrading small and medium towns.

While Rs 200 crore had already been allocated for developing slums, the Centre has been urged to divert another Rs 200 crore from JNNURM. Mr Bhattacharya said that under JNNURM Rs 5,700 crore had already been spent since its launch in 2005 through 197 pr ojects sanctioned, of which Centre contributed Rs 2,782 crore and the rest was contributed by the State Government.
Price hike resulted in cost overrun of the projects forcing the State Government to spend Rs 871 crore so far and this would shoot up to Rs 1,200 crore by 2012 when the JNNURM programme would end.

The Chief Minister underscored areas like providing urban home for the poor, development of slums, besides developing drainage and sewerage system, while a decision has been taken for securing Rs 1.900 crore loan from the Asian Development Bank.

Of this 35 per cent would be provided by the State Government as matching grant. In next four years of the tenure of JNNURM, the State Government would set off projects worth Rs 4,500 crore, the Minister said adding that Rs 500 crore of it would be spent for developing small and medium towns. (PTI)

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