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Madurai water scheme gets Central grant

A. Srivathsan

Project is estimated to cost Rs.59.31 crore

CHENNAI: Based on the City Development Plan submitted under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the Madurai Corporation has prepared a project to improve water supply in the city.

The project is estimated to cost Rs.59.31 crore. The Centre has agreed to give Rs.29.65 crore as grant. The first instalment of 7.41 crore has already been released.

The Madurai Corporation submitted the City Development Plan (CDP) as part of its urban improvement proposal in March 2006. Wilbur Smith Associates, a private consultant, prepared the plan, which proposes to improve drainage, water supply, slums and solid waste management. The works are estimated to cost Rs.2,361 crore. The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), New Delhi, which appraised the CDP, found it conforming with JNNURM norms. The Corporation has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Government of India for sanction of grants.

Under the JNNURM norms, Madurai, a category B city, will receive 50 per cent of the funds from the Centre. The State Government will provide 20 per cent. The local body has to raise the balance through market or other means. The Ministry of Urban Development has taken the initiative to credit rate city development projects so that the local bodies can raise funds. On an earlier occasion, the Madurai Corporation raised Rs. 29 crore through bonds in private placement.

The JNNURM requires that multi-stakeholder meeting be held at all stages and allocates funds for this. However, a few groups have raised doubts about the kind of consultations undertaken in the preparation of the CDP. Earlier, the Madurai Corporation had submitted its updated 2001 City Corporate Plan as its new CDP. The NIUA is now satisfied with the appraised CDP and thinks it fulfils the requirements.

However, NIUA sources told The Hindu that it had to go by what is submitted and could not take up independent verification. The Memorandum of Agreement will mean that the Corporation has to implement a set of reforms outlined in the JNNURM mission document. This includes implementation of the Public Disclosure Law and the Community Participation Law. The Corporation has promised to make suitable provisions for the Public Disclosure Law by 2008-09 and the Community Participation Law by 2009-10.

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