New Delhi, May 1, 2012: The UPA’s flagship programme, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), launched in 2005 has been described as a “failure” by none other than a high-level government panel headed by Planning Commission member Arun Maira.
The panel has criticised this `66,000 crores urban renewal programme which was supposed to improve water supply and sanitation and upgrade urban infrastructure across 63 cities of India. Mr Maira, in his report submitted to the government, faults the “haphazard approach in taking up programmes” and “poor planning” as being some of “the most debilitating lacunae” in this programme.
Jelson Garcia, Asia manager of Bank Information Centre, pointed out, “JNNURM has a dismal record of only 10 per cent completed projects, limited capacity to spend funds and tremendous delays and cost overruns.’ Bengaluru-based Vinay Baindur, co-author of a report titled, “Reengineering Urban Infrastructure: How the World Bank and Asian development Bank Shape Urban Infrastructure Finance in India,” stressed that efforts of both the Centre and states is to increase private sector participation in urban development even if they lack the expertise to do so.
Mr Baindur cites the example of the city of Nagpur where India’s first 24x7 water supply project has been handed over to the private sector company Orange city Water Supply Company, a joint venture company floated by the Indian subsidiary of France’s Veolia and a Nagpur-based company called Vishwaraj Infrastructure.
This $100 million project will receive 70 per cent funding from JNNURM and 30 per cent from the operator. “But already, there are rumblings from Congress politicians who are demanding the contract document to be made public,” he said. (Source: The Asian Age)