Meerut’s urban dreams die in its half-done drains
Seven years hence, even this modest project seems to have ground to a halt. With heaps of garbage lining its choked and dug-up roads, the project — expected to be commissioned by March 2012 —looks far from complete, adding to the city’s miseries.
The problem is partly with the JNNURM design, which overestimates the ability of local urban bodies to implement and monitor large infrastructure projects. The lack of capacity with local bodies and developers selected through competitive bidding has been conspicuous in Meerut, like in many other cities that have taken up projects under JNNURM.
Meerut mirrors the state of most of India’s 71 cities dreaming of transformation through JNNURM, the central government’s biggest urban development initiative, launched in 2005. Plagued by poor design and administration, many JNNURM projects have gone haywire, highlighting the need to restructure the ambitious scheme. In a recent report, Planning Commission member Arun Maira said the mission must be modified and relaunched as a 10-year Mission II, focussing on promoting financial sustainability and accountability of urban local bodies and incorporating schemes to attract private funds through public-private partnerships. Poor coordination between the two central ministries anchoring
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