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NE States involvement must: Saugata

By staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Oct 30 � The States of the North-east should become more involved in partnering schemes of the Union Ministry of Urban Development, ensuring proper use of resources and in-time completion. Proper support and monitoring of the schemes by the State governments will lead to better socio-economic development of the region that suffers from inadequate infrastructure.

This was stated by Saugata Roy, Minister of State for Urban Development while addressing a meet � North East Urban Infracon � organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here today.

Roy, in his address reasoned that the State governments should not expect full funding of certain projects in which around 90 per cent of finances were made available by the Ministry. �From our experiences we know that having a financial stake in projects makes State governments more involved,� he remarked.

On the Urban Development Ministry�s role in implementing schemes in the northeastern States, he referred to overall Central assistance allocated for the States in 2009-10, an amount of Rs 16,000 crore.

He described overcrowding, paucity of affordable housing, transport bottlenecks, and sanitation as some of the issues of concern, and noted that the Union Government�s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission was an intervention to address those. The programme is also being implemented in the Northeast.

With regard to the Northeast, the Union Government has been earmarking at least 10 per cent of the total Plan Budget of all Union Ministries for specific programmes in the region. The Urban Development Ministry was following the same guidelines and providing funds to improve and create urban infrastructure in the region.

The Minister of State also appealed to the private sector to step in for developing urban infrastructure either singly or in PPP mode so that the pace of development could accelerate. He pointed out that private initiatives have already made significant improvements in building state-of-the-art infrastructure in some parts of the country.

Roy identified transport drawbacks as a challenge to the cities of Northeast, and emphasized that innovative solutions should be worked out by urban planners. He favoured a comprehensive mobility Bus Rapid Transit System that could reduce problems like traffic congestion to a great extent.

Earlier in the programme, Founder Strong Cajee, Minister Urban Development, Meghalaya, and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Nabam Tuki, spoke about challenges in urban affairs in their respective states. Both agreed on the issue of more sustained support from the Union Government to overcome serious hurdles faced by scores of urbanites, particularly the poor and weaker sections.

In the absence of Ajanta Neog, Minister PWD, Assam, the State�s concerns were conveyed by Saraswati Prasad, Principal Secretary, Urban Development, who mentioned that funds flowing through the Additional Central Assistance route was less than adequate.

It was difficult, he believed, for any one actor alone to change the existing urban situation, and underlined the need to empower local authorities to become more involved to improve infrastructure in cities. Apart from more private participation, adoption of proven low-cost technologies could be tools to create better urban infrastructure, Prasad mentioned.

Delivering the welcome address, MK Saharia, chairman ICC North East Initiative, appreciated Roy�s maiden presence in an ICC event in the Northeast, describing it as indicative of his interest to usher in positive developments.

According to him, development of urban centres would fuel economic growth, which has not taken place in a level comparable to other parts of the country. He stated that the region required special attention from the Union Government in the form of funds.

Top officials of NF Railway and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, were among the stakeholders who attended the programme.

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NE States involvement must: Saugata

GUWAHATI, Oct 30 � The States of the North-east should become more involved in partnering schemes of the Union Ministry of Urban Development, ensuring proper use of resources and in-time completion. Proper support and monitoring of the schemes by the State governments will lead to better socio-economic development of the region that suffers from inadequate infrastructure.

This was stated by Saugata Roy, Minister of State for Urban Development while addressing a meet � North East Urban Infracon � organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here today.

Roy, in his address reasoned that the State governments should not expect full funding of certain projects in which around 90 per cent of finances were made available by the Ministry. �From our experiences we know that having a financial stake in projects makes State governments more involved,� he remarked.

On the Urban Development Ministry�s role in implementing schemes in the northeastern States, he referred to overall Central assistance allocated for the States in 2009-10, an amount of Rs 16,000 crore.

He described overcrowding, paucity of affordable housing, transport bottlenecks, and sanitation as some of the issues of concern, and noted that the Union Government�s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission was an intervention to address those. The programme is also being implemented in the Northeast.

With regard to the Northeast, the Union Government has been earmarking at least 10 per cent of the total Plan Budget of all Union Ministries for specific programmes in the region. The Urban Development Ministry was following the same guidelines and providing funds to improve and create urban infrastructure in the region.

The Minister of State also appealed to the private sector to step in for developing urban infrastructure either singly or in PPP mode so that the pace of development could accelerate. He pointed out that private initiatives have already made significant improvements in building state-of-the-art infrastructure in some parts of the country.

Roy identified transport drawbacks as a challenge to the cities of Northeast, and emphasized that innovative solutions should be worked out by urban planners. He favoured a comprehensive mobility Bus Rapid Transit System that could reduce problems like traffic congestion to a great extent.

Earlier in the programme, Founder Strong Cajee, Minister Urban Development, Meghalaya, and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Nabam Tuki, spoke about challenges in urban affairs in their respective states. Both agreed on the issue of more sustained support from the Union Government to overcome serious hurdles faced by scores of urbanites, particularly the poor and weaker sections.

In the absence of Ajanta Neog, Minister PWD, Assam, the State�s concerns were conveyed by Saraswati Prasad, Principal Secretary, Urban Development, who mentioned that funds flowing through the Additional Central Assistance route was less than adequate.

It was difficult, he believed, for any one actor alone to change the existing urban situation, and underlined the need to empower local authorities to become more involved to improve infrastructure in cities. Apart from more private participation, adoption of proven low-cost technologies could be tools to create better urban infrastructure, Prasad mentioned.

Delivering the welcome address, MK Saharia, chairman ICC North East Initiative, appreciated Roy�s maiden presence in an ICC event in the Northeast, describing it as indicative of his interest to usher in positive developments.

According to him, development of urban centres would fuel economic growth, which has not taken place in a level comparable to other parts of the country. He stated that the region required special attention from the Union Government in the form of funds.

Top officials of NF Railway and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, were among the stakeholders who attended the programme.