In an initiative to provide urban facilities to rural areas, the Punjab government on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) for identifying potential clusters for the Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) projects.
Balwinder Singh, director, rural development and panchayat, Punjab, and Dr AK Krishna Kumar, executive director, IL&FS, signed the MoU in the presence of Surjit Singh Rakhra, rural development and panchayat minister, Punjab.
Talking to mediapersons here, Rakhra said PURA projects would aim at providing quality physical infrastructure, high-end market-linked vocational skills and economic activities. The total cost of each PURA project is expected to be Rs 240 crore over the project life cycle, coming from ongoing government schemes, PURA grants and the private sector.
Rakhra said the scheme attempted to converge existing government initiatives complemented by additional support from PURA grants and leveraging public funds with private capital for the creation and management of infrastructure, along with economic activities, to improve the quality of life in rural areas and to guide them to the next stage of development.
The minister added that the scope of the scheme was to select private partners to develop livelihood opportunities, urban amenities and infrastructure facilities to prescribed service levels almost akin to urban standards and be responsible for maintenance of the same for 10 years in the selected panchayat/cluster of panchayat.
The selected private partners would be required to provide amenities such as water supply and sanitation, roads, drainage, solid waste management, street lighting and undertake skill development activity as well as provide 'add-on' revenue-earning facilities such as village-linked tourism, integrated rural hub, rural market, agri-common services centre, warehousing etc.
Rakhra said the state government wished to utilise the resources and expertise of IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Limited in undertaking necessary activities for development and implementation of PURA projects in the state.