Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mission City Itanagar not Mission Impossible

ITANAGAR, Dec 3: Mission City Itanagar is not a superficial cliché nor is it Mission Impossible. If Nabam Tuki’s fervent but veiled appeal bears fruit, Itanagar, the capital city, would soon become a thriving municipal devoid of slums and crimes with all basic facilities available to its metropolitan citizens. Far-reaching but certainly not unreachable and that’s what the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) stands for.

Speaking at the annual national conference on JNNURM, organized by the Union Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation today at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, State Urban Development Minister Nabam Tuki sought the patronage of the Central Government in realizing the ambitious dream.

In presence of the Prime Minister of India, Tuki had informed that in the approved City Development Plan (CDP) under JNNURM, an investment plan of Rs 1788 crore was prepared for various admissible components for the entire Mission Period. Till date Government of India has sanctioned only six projects amounting to Rs 234.06 crore while eight projects amounting to Rs 394.65 crore were under submission to the Ministry for sanction. He submitted that to complete development of Mission City the remaining Rs 1159.29 crore was yet to be sanctioned with adequate fund provision based on the investment plan already approved by the Centre.

Highlighting the initiatives taken by the State government, Tuki informed of the State Level Steering Committee (SLSC) and establishment of the State Urban Development department headed by a Chief Engineer-cum-Director for Urban Development & Housing, which would act as the State Level Nodal Agency (SLNA) for implementing the JNNURM.

Earlier, the Government of India had approved the CDP for Itanagar Mission Period following which a tripartite Memorandum of Agreement between the State and the Center was signed for implementation of Urban Reforms Agendas under the Mission. The SLSC has already met twice (in Nov 2006 and June 2009) and prioritized projects envisaged in the CDP report.

The State Government had initially submitted twelve projects costing Rs.586.55 Crore to the Ministry of Urban Development under UIG Components (JNNURM) for Mission City, Itanagar, out of which 4 projects have been sanctioned for Rs.184.80 crore till date.

Similarly, the State had initially submitted 3 projects under BSUP Component especially for Mission City Itanagar amounting to Rs.54.25 crore to the Union Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, out of which only 2 projects have been sanctioned for Rs.49.25 crore till date.

Last year, during December, the State Government had submitted 9 other projects under UIDSSMT Component for non-Mission cities and other urban towns of the State at an estimated amount of Rs.39.36 crore. Accordingly, the Government of India sanctioned all the 9 projects. Under the IHSDP component, sanction of Rs.10.7 crore was sought from the Union Ministry to which the Centre had sanctioned only one project for Rs.9.95 crore. However, its first installment is yet to be released.

Expressing hope that the development of Itanagar and other urban centres of the State would witness development as envisaged by JNNURM, Tuki termed it a window of opportunity that has opened for the State and Urban Local Bodies to take up infrastructure improvement and upgradation programmes on a sustainable basis.

He informed that the Arunachal Pradesh Municipality Bill has already been passed in March 2008 to accelerate the development process. However, due to the Parliamentary and State Assembly elections the much-awaited elections for the Municipality could not be held till now. Tuki assured the Centre that elections for municipal and town committees would be held very soon in the State. THE SENTINEL

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