Agartala: Ministry of Urban Development has held up the installments of fund under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) of Agartala city for non-compliance of conditions set for Urban Infrastructure and Governance sub-mission.
Urban Development Minister Manik Dey said here despite several persuasions Centre has stuck to the condition of realisation of property tax at from least 85 per cent households of the city, but the state government could achieve only 45 per cent so far and as a result, the fund flow was held up.
”In fact, Agartala is a habitant of marginal income groups and more over the monitoring mechanism of tax payment in Agartala municipal area was begun only after introduced of JNNURM project and the citizens have yet been developed the habit of voluntary payment of tax,” Dey underlined.
The city dwellers have not been cooperating with the city administration in realisation of tax and rents as per the guidelines of the Centre,” he alleged.
”Not only JNNURM, Asian Development Bank, funding for water supply project for central and south zones of the city and 13th Finance Commission have imposed condition of Cost Recovery Mechanism,” he added. He however, pointed out that the state government had faced a serious problem following non-getting of due installments under JNNURM programme, as the project components were set out in phasing manner according to the installment realisation committed by the Centre, but stoppage of fund flow made the project half done, which forced the state government to finish. Referring to 13th FC recommendation, Dey said it had allocated Rs 57 Cr for urban infrastructure development in next five years where Rs 22 Cr was earmarked as performance grant-to be released only after compliance of all the conditions.
The water supply system in Agartala had been suffering from several deficiencies like non- utilization of optimum capacity of the two treatment plants, under production from ground water, ineffective treatment for iron removal, absence of proper disinfections, a high amount of unaccounted for water (UFW).
City Development Plan under JNNURM was prepared to ensure access to assured and safe drinking and water to the city dwellers, but even after five years of launching the project right to access to water rather reduced substantially. It had also targeted to utilize optimum capacity of the water treatment plant; augmentation of production from ground water; improvement of deteriorated distribution system, Water Resource Management, extension of water supply services to uncovered areas besides, Cost Recovery Mechanism, efficiency in Operation and Maintenance- Replacement of old machinery and reduce transmission and distribution losses nothing is visible so far in Agartala.
The National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) has been executing the project and has sought funds under the national urban renewal mission.
Water supply project for Agartala under JNNURM was designed to provide treated and piped drinking water supply on 24X7 bases to AMC residents.
The project was prepared by NBCC with an estimated cost of Rs 653.65 crore but Ministry of Urban Development sanctioned Rs 78.26 Cr for North zone of the city in 2009 where all VIPs and bureaucrats are staying.
Meanwile, he stated that ADB had granted Rs 103 crore of Rs 167 crore project of drinking water project of Rs 292 Cr DPR for Agartala city to ensure sustainable and purified potable water supply to the city dwellers.