Odisha Channel Bureau Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met the Union Urban Development Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi on Tuesday and demanded more funds from the Centre for the State under various schemes.Patnaik apprised Naidu that the ongoing Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) in its present form denies freedom to the States to identify appropriate projects for different cities and is biased against Urban Infrastructure for small and medium towns.He stated that major benefits under JnNURM accrue to States with large cities which have a greater capacity to absorb funds and not to States with smaller cities like Odisha.He suggested that JnNURM should be made State specific with complete freedom to the States to identify and implement feasible urban projects.The basic entitlement of each State could be worked out based on different parameters such as urban population and performance grants linked to urban reforms.The Chief Minister also suggested that the additional Central assistance linked to reforms under JnNURM may be modified to make it uniform 10 per cent in case of both the components of Urban Infrastructure Governance (UIG) and Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small & Medium Towns (UIDSSMT). The Chief Minister informed the Union Minister that there are pending claims amounting to Rs.104 crore under UIG and Rs.39 crore under UIDSSMT which may be released at the earliest.Patnaik also sought early release of first installment of additional Central assistance amounting to one-third of Rs.460 crore for enabling the State to undertake Bus Rapid Transit System in Bhubaneswar.Chief Minister drew the attention of the Union Minister to the pending proposals of the State including Water Supply projects for Berhampur Phase-II, Storm Water Drainage project for Jajpur Town and City Bus Service for Rourkela-Biramitrapur and Bolangir-Patnagarh under JnNURM and requested for early sanction of the said projects. Patnaik mentioned that only six cities of Odisha are covered under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) and impressed upon the Union Minister to sanction additional 35 cities under RAY early.Highlighting that the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) covers only 33 urban local bodies in the State, Patnaik also requested for sanction of the remaining 73 urban local bodies under NULM.The Union Minister was also requested to amend NULM guidelines by providing for a community organiser for 2000 BPL households in place of the existing norm of a community organiser for 3000 BPL households for effective monitoring of Urban Poverty Alleviation Programmes. According to an official release, the Union Minister assured the Chief Minister that all pending projects and claims shall be processed at the earliest.Naidu assured that the issues raised by Patnaik will be given priority and efforts will be made to modify the guidelines of JnNURM and NULM for ensuring greater decentralisation and equitable distribution of resources amongst different States.
June 3, 2014