Ghats the way: Cities along Ganga to get Rs 1.75-lakh-crore makeover

Written by Rajat Arora | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 4 2014, 06:22am hrs
ModiAround 100 cities are expected to be taken up for renewal in the fresh plan.
The ministry of urban development is preparing a blueprint for a fresh urban renewal scheme that will focus on the renewal of prominent cities and towns along the Ganges.

The new scheme, which will replace UPA's Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), is expected to have an outlay of around Rs 1.75 lakh crore to be spent over a period of 10 years.

To ensure that there's better coordination between different ministries, the ministry will prepare an integrated plan in collaboration with the tourism and Ganga rejuvenation ministries to develop cities like Agra, Varanasi and several others into world-class tourism circuits. Around 100 cities are expected to be taken up for renewal in the fresh plan.

What we are planning to needs support from the tourism and the river development ministries. The urban renewal scheme can't be run in isolation. The new urban renewal scheme will be one of the most ambitious schemes of the NDA government, a senior UD ministry official said.

According to sources, the spending on procuring intercity and feeder buses will also be increased to give push to commercial automobile industry. It's expected that the Centre will be giving funds to state governments for the procurement of over 15,000 buses.

The ministry is preparing a Cabinet note, which after the approval from UD minister Venkaiah Naidu, will be presented before the Cabinet after getting comments from related ministries. The new mission won't be state-specific like its previous version where every state was given projects. This time the states would be given the grants for the project on first-come-first-served basis. The government is also including development of waterways, including grants for procuring boats and setting up of ropeways in hilly areas.

The proposed outlay is more than double the amount the government had sanctioned for the flagship scheme from 2005 to 2012 that focused on planned development in cities, sanctioning projects related to urban transport, water supply and sewage, among others.