Centre has okayed Rs 11,000 crore for urban missions in Punjab: Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Centre has okayed Rs 11,000 crore for urban missions in Punjab: Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri

He appealed to the state government and in particular to chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to focus on speedy execution of these important urban missions .

punjab Updated: Sep 14, 2017 21:04 IST
HT Correspondent
Union minister of state for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri  addressing a press conference in Amritsar on Thursday.
Union minister of state for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri addressing a press conference in Amritsar on Thursday.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

The Union government has approved a total investment of about Rs11,000 crore in the last three years to improve the infrastructure and living conditions in urban areas of Punjab, under various new urban missions, said Union minister of state for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri here on Thursday.

The former diplomat was here to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Durgiana Mandir and Ram Tirath temple. He was accompanied by state BJP president and Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Vijay Sampla, party leaders Anil Joshi and Tarun Chugh, and other local BJP leadership.

While interacting with the media here, Puri said central assistance of about Rs 4,000 crore has been approved for Punjab for implementation of new missions such as the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).

Replying to a query about houses to the poor, he said the ‘housing for all’ scheme of the Union government has “just been initiated” in 2015 and the “execution is underway”. Holding the previous Congress-led UPA government responsible for not facilitating the poor in this regard, he said, “Only 7,037 houses were sanctioned for urban poor in Punjab during the regime of United Progressive Alliance (UPA), while the Modi government has sanctioned 42,497 houses for Punjab with an investment of Rs 1,182 crore.”

“In Punjab, 16 cities and towns with a population of over 1 lakh each have been included in the AMRUT. These cities and towns account for 60% of urban population of Punjab”, the minister said. These cities are Amritsar, Abohar, Barnala, Batala, Bhatinda, Firozepur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Khanna, Ludhiana, Moga, Muktsar, Pathankot, Patiala and Mohali. “Substantial investment of Rs 9,471 cr has been approved for five years for these 16 cities for improving basic urban infrastructure. This comes to about Rs 16,270 per head,” he elaborated.

As far as Amritsar is concerned, a total investment of Rs3,754 crore has so far been approved under new urban missions; this comes to Rs 30,300 per head, he said.

“The purpose of my visit to Amritsar and to Punjab is to assure the state government and the people of Punjab that the Centre will work shoulder to shoulder with the state government in the development of the state and, particularly, in improving the state of affairs in cities and towns,” he added.

He appealed to the state government and in particular to chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to focus on speedy execution of these important urban missions which would go a long way in making a difference to the quality of life in the cities and towns of the state.

On the party front, he said he has an old association with the BJP as he has been activist of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), student wing of the RSS. “Although I linked up with the BJP since old times, I formally joined the party in 2013,” he added.