A Rs. 118-crore rural project that could have changed the face of a backward block in high-profile constituency Amethi has been scrapped for months. The Mayawati government has put the No-Objection Certificate for Provision of Urban amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) on hold “without specific reasons”.
In the absence of an NoC, an empowered committee (EC) under the ministry of rural development scrapped the project. “We could not have continued as the state government approval is a must,” said a ministry official, “which in this case we do not see as coming.”
The public-private partnership (PPP) project was to be executed by Srei Infrastructure of Kolkata in Salon block of Amethi, now part of newly created Chatrapati Sahuji Maharajnagar district.
The plan would have given Rahul Gandhi’s constituency a rural BPO, an agro-industries cluster and a rural crafts-tourism project, which would have benefited 20 villages.
A project in P Chidambaram’s constituency Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu to be executed by the same company has met a similar fate, as the ruling DMK — a Congress ally — revoked its NoC. Eighty-nine habitations of 31,612 people would have gained from the project.
Tamil Nadu’s decision blocked another PURA project in Kanchipuram, where Marg Limited was to execute a project.
A project by Marg in nearby Puducherry will go on as the Congress government there sent in its NoC. Former rural development minister CP Joshi's home district Rajsamand has also got an NoC from the Congress and the project is to be executed by IL&FS.
Though 93 companies had expressed initial interest, only six qualified and were given the 11 projects (three now cancelled) in October, several of them in famous Lok Sabha seats.
“We left the selection of the places to the companies and approved the projects based on their viability,” a member of EC said. “… the companies might have thought of some mileage when selecting these high-profile locales,” he added.
SREI declined to comment on its choice of sites.