Urban mission funds for UP is unutilised: civic bodies

Written by Kakoly Chatterjee | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 30 2009, 04:21am hrs
Municipal corporations of Uttar Pradesh have no access to the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) funds.

For cities like Allahabad, Varanasi and Agra detailed project reports (DPR) have gone from the urban local bodies (ULB). But when the central funding for JNNURM comes, the Uttar Pradesh government transfers it to Jal Nigam, which is an autonomous body of the state through which it executes these projects.

Currently, projects worth Rs 600 crore is being executed in Allahabad, Rs 900 crore is being executed in Varanasi and Rs 2,500 crore executed in Agra but nowhere is the urban local body executing the projects.

The state government is transferring the funds for JNNURM to UP Jal Nigam, which also executes the projects. The state is also not interested in enforcing the 74th amendment which will empower the urban local bodies, Jitendr Nath Singh, mayor, Allahabad, said.

Mayor of Varanasi Kaushalendra Singh complained that most of the funds for this city are lying unutilised. Funds have been sanctioned for solid waste management (Rs 46 crore), storm water drainage (Rs 181 crore) and three water supply projects (Rs 200 crore, Rs 80 crore and Rs 111 crore). None of these projects have taken off except the last water supply project, Singh said.

Singh goes on to say that neither the Uttar Pradesh chief minister nor the urban development minister have paid any heed to the complaints. We do not even get any financial aid from the state government to provide basic utility services to the city like keeping the city clean, Singh said.

Anjula Singh, mayor Agra complained that there is a huge communication gap between the urban local bodies and the Centre and the state. State government releases the money directly to Jal Nigam for JNNURM and this organisation also charges 12.5% for executing the projects, Anjula Singh said.

Jaipal Reddy, minister urban development said, We are in talks with the Uttar Pradesh government and trying to resolve the issue. This northern state has recently started absorbing JNNURM funds and yet to pick up.

Officials in the ministry also point out that the urban local bodies are not able to pay their share of funds most of the time and as a result the state contributes the share of both the state and the municipal corporation.