Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Planning Commission likely to grant Rs.1500 crore for PURA 2.0 -Jairam
Union Rural Development Minister Sh Jairam Ramesh said that Planning Commission has agreed to provide Rs-1500 Crore in the 12th Five year plan for developing infrastructure in rapidly urbanizing areas known as census towns in the new version of PURA (Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas). Talking to reporters here, the Minister informed that the number of Census Towns in India has increased from 1,362 in 2001 to 3,894 in 2011, while the number of villages and the statutory towns have remained the same. A Census town is described as a town having more than 5,000 populations with a density of 400 people per square kilometer and where the male population engaged in non-agricultural activities is more than 75 percent. Shri Ramesh said that 10 to 15 projects will be taken up this year in the states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh in a public-private partnership mode to build and improve upon the physical infrastructure. Expression of Interest for the private parties has already been notified and the private companies in consultation with Gram Panchayats, which will be the nodal agency, can take up projects like sanitation, water supply, street lighting, roads and solid and liquid waste management on user-charges basis in the census towns. Each project is likely to cost about 150 crore rupees with Rural Development Ministry providing a grant of 40 to 50 crore rupees; 70 to 80 crore rupees will be mobilized by ongoing central schemes, while the private sector is expected to bring in about 20 crore rupees. The Private Company in consulation with the Gram Panchayat will get the lease of 10 years for the physical infrastructure to be developed in such towns to recover the investment. Shri Ramesh said two projects each in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh and one each in Puducherry and Uttarakhand are awaiting final approval. The Ministry had already launched two such schemes in Kerala in February this year under PURA 2.0, which is different from PURA 1.0, conceived by the former President Dr A.P.J.Abdul Kalam as that one principally related to knowledge connectivity.

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