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So little to show for so much

One step forward, two steps back. That best describes Maharashtra’s progress on development projects that it took on with funds from a flagship nation-building scheme of the Centre, reports Vikas Pathak.

india Updated: Jun 11, 2009 00:56 IST
Vikas Pathak

One step forward, two steps back. That best describes Maharashtra’s progress on development projects that it took on with funds from a flagship nation-building scheme of the Centre.

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) basically supplies additional funds to those raised by state governments and urban local bodies for specific projects. The UPA government launched it in December 2005, as a flagship scheme aimed at building 63 mission cities across India.

While 21 states and Union Territories out of 31 listed have had less than 10 JNNURM projects each sanctioned so far, Maharashtra got a whopping 77 projects sanctioned, which is 16 per cent of the 463 sanctioned so far. Of those 77, it has finished a grand total of one: a subway on a by-pass at Baner junction near Pune.

Out of total Central funds released so far, 27 per cent have been to Maharashtra – Rs 2,214 crore out of Rs 8,253 crore. But the state’s contribution to finished projects – 1 out of 32 across India – is just over 3 per cent.

Urban Development Secretary M Ramachandran told HT: “There may be a good many of these projects nearing completion. So one should not jump to conclusions. We on our part regularly alert all states that they should move swiftly.”

Gujarat is a welcome contrast, accounting for the highest number of finished projects: 13, which is 40 per cent of completed projects across India. This despite getting only 11 per cent – Rs 890 crore – of the total funds.

Andhra Pradesh did reasonably well, completing eight of 48 projects sanctioned. Tamil Nadu completed 3 of 51 sanctioned. Madhya Pradesh completed 3 of 20 sanctioned. Project sanctioning has happened at different times over the last three-and-a-half years – while some ongoing projects are at an advanced stage, some have just begun.

JNNURM also monitors progress on these projects through quarterly review meetings where state and municipal officials present reports.

“We rely on their reports and promises, since the state and municipal bodies too have stakes in the completion of these projects,” said an official on condition of anonymity since he is not authorised to speak to the media.