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Urban reforms project likely to take off soon

By Our Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD, AUG. 2 . The State Government is working on the design of the Andhra Pradesh Urban Reforms and Municipal Services Project (APURMS) for implementation in all municipalities and corporations with the assistance of the World Bank.

The Bank has appreciated the Comprehensive Municipal Action Plan for Poverty Reduction undertaken under the AP Urban Services for the Poor (APUSP) Project, and decided to adopt the same framework for the APURMS. Final negotiations with the Bank are due soon, and an amount of Rs. 20.78 crores has been provided in the budget this year in anticipation of the Bank's approval.

19 towns identified

In the first phase of the project, 19 APUSP towns were identified for the preparation of critical infrastructure, and all 19 have prepared projects for citywide infrastructure at an estimated cost of Rs. 1,445 crores. As many as 397 proposals of the first phase cover water supply, roads, drainage, underground drainage, solid waste management and street-lighting at an estimated cost of Rs. 175.25 crores.

In his note on the budget demands of the Municipal Administration department, the Minister, K. Ranga Rao, said the thrust was on improving infrastructure in slums, including non-statutory slums. A special matrix is being developed based on prevailing poverty and lack of urban infrastructure in a given area for the identification of slums in an objective manner.

Water supply schemes

As part of the endeavour to provide protected drinking water in urban areas, all 24 schemes undertaken under HUDCO Phase II, costing Rs. 437.96 crores, are to be completed by year-end. Thirty schemes under phase III are expected to be completed by December 2005. In addition, Stage II of Phase I of the Krishna drinking water project is to be completed by the end of next year.

Under the Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns Scheme, two of the proposed ten towns--Nirmal and Mangalagiri--have been approved by the Union Government, which released Rs. 76 lakhs in June. The State is also expected to release Rs. 50.66 lakhs for the two towns.

An amount of Rs. 20.34 crores was allotted in the 2004-05 budget for the ten towns towards Central grants and more than Rs. 2.82 crores as the State matching assistance, including backlog amounts for the years 2002-03 and 2003-04.

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