Shimla, Jul 3 UNI | 21 days ago

Himachal Pradesh Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma urged the Union Government to enhance the per dwelling unit cost under Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY) from Rs five lakh to Rs eight lakh so as to meet the excessive cost of site development.

He was speaking at the conclave of Ministers in New Delhi today.

Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu presided over the conclave.

Mr Sudhir Sharma said due to hill topography and difficult terrain, construction in Himachal is costlier than plain areas.

He said increase in amount under RAY would benefit the eligible persons in the state and also urged the Centre to grant two additional years for completion of various developmental projects in the state.

The Minister said many developmental projects in the State could not be completed on time due to clearances related to Forest Conservation Act.

He requested that clearances under the Act should be provided at the earliest and relaxation may be given to the State under the Act keeping in view its tough hilly terrain.

Mr Sharma also requested the Union Government to provide funds to the Himachal on 90:10 pattern on the analogy of North-Eastern States. The Government of India had reduced this funding pattern to 80:20, he added.

The Minister said standard technology for alternative mode of transport and solid waste management should be identified at the Centre's level so that these projects may be completed in stipulated time alongwith quality in their implementation.

He requested bilateral cooperation between Union Government and other countries should be extended to various States and states should be free to enter into Memorandum of Agreement at their own level within the ambit of Memorandum of Agreement of Central Government, an official statement here said.

Mr Sharma also said at present most crucial areas of urban management such as public convenience, parking and municipal parks are not being covered under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and further urged the Government of India to include these areas for funding under next phase of JNNURM, keeping in view the importance of these sectors under Public Private Partnership (PPP) for a hilly State like Himachal Pradesh.

He appealed to the Centre to extend the coverage under National Urban Livelihood Mission and Rajiv Awas Yojna to all urban local bodies. At present, these projects are being implemented at the towns of district headquarters.

The Minister also urged for making special provisions for institutional strengthening in all developmental grants and said that panel of consultants must be finalised at Centre's level for detailed project reports preparation and feasibility study.

Mr Sudhir Sharma said poverty alleviation in urban areas, housing facility for poor people residing in urban areas, self employment avenues for urban youth, water supply, sewerage and solid waste management are major thrust areas for Himachal Pradesh and urged the Central Government to provide liberal financial assistance under various projects for these areas.

He also requested for capacity building and skill development of departmental officials and elected representatives of urban local bodies.

(Posted on 03-07-2014)