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Games a year away, govt cries fund crunch

delhi Updated: Nov 24, 2009 00:04 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta

Eleven months ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Delhi government —the host city — is short of funds to complete various projects linked to the event.

And it wants the Union Urban Development (UD) Ministry to bail it out.

It has written to the UD Ministry asking for Rs 1,000 crore — which it says is due to it — under the Centre's flagship Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

The project was launched in 2005 under which Rs 50,000 crore has been granted for development of urban infrastructure in 63 Indian cities so far.

The rider for getting funds: Cities have to give detailed project reports — a mandatory criteria being followed by all the mission cities, except Delhi.

Now, the Delhi government wants the UD Ministry to make an exception in its case and divert the Rs 1,000 crore due to it so that it can complete the Games projects.

"We are facing fund shortage. This can affect our Games projects. Since we have been unable to avail funds under JNNURM, as our projects did not get approved, we want the UD Ministry to make an one-time exception for us and grant the funds for completing Games projects," said Dr AK Walia, Delhi Finance Minister.

Union UD secretary M Ramachandran said, "We have got a proposal from the Delhi government seeking Rs 1,000 crore. The matter has been taken up for a high-level decision.

In February, the Centre had granted Rs 1,045 crore to Delhi but it could not avail it as it had already started projects without getting it approved.

"Because of shortage of time, we started projects without getting them approved. Many projects are pending before the ministry for approval," said Dr Walia."

The UD Ministry is not too happy about the Delhi government's demand. Its stand is that once it makes an exception for one city, others would also end up making similar demands.

Delhi has just got two projects approved under JNNURM.

So far, the UDM has returned all 26 DPRs received from the Delhi government on roads, flyovers and underpasses because they were not properly made.