Fund crunch affecting urban infra projects: Govt

New Delhi: Fund crunch is affecting implementation of a central scheme for developing infrastructure in urban areas with most of the states already exhausting their allocation, Rajya Sabha was informed today, reports PTI.

“Yes.... The states are in need of more funds for their urban infrastructure projects but due to non-availability of funds in their seven-year allocation, it is not possible to commit any further assistance to them,” minister of state for urban development Saugata Roy stated in a written reply to a question in the Upper House.

He was asked whether a fund crunch is affecting the implementation of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

The minister informed the House that a sum of Rs31,500 crore has been allocated as Additional Central Assistance (ACA) for sanctioning of projects under Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) of JNNURM for the mission period of seven years, beginning from 2005-06, and Rs11,400 crore for sanction of project under Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Town (UIDSSMT).

“The committed ACA against the above mentioned provision is Rs27,748.18 crore for UIG and Rs10,435.93 crore under UIDSSMT,” he said.

Some states like Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Orissa, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh have either exceeded or almost reached their allocation under UIG of JNNURM.

“Only states like Andaman Nicobar, Bihar Goa, Haryana, Jharkhand, Lakshadweep, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland are left with some balance in their seven-year allocation under UIDSSMT,” the minister added.

When asked whether the Planning Commission has also expressed its concern in this context and proposed private sector participation, the minister replied that the commission has favoured encouraging projects being taken up in public-private-participation (PPP).

“Planning Commission in its annual report to the people on infrastructure has mentioned that one of the identified strategies for the mission was to incorporate private sector efficiencies and attract private capital in the development, arrangement and financing of projects, through PPP arrangements,” he said.


RK Singh appointed as new BPCL chairman

A mechanical engineer RK Singh will hold the reins of BPCL till September 2013

The government has appointed RK Singh as the chairman and managing director of state-owned Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL).

Mr Singh, who currently holds the portfolio of director (Refineries) at BPCL, is likely to assume the new role with effect from 9th December.

In a statement, BPCL said, "Singh has been appointed by the competent authority as chairman and managing director from the date of taking over charge of the post."

A mechanical engineer from Banaras Hindu University, Mr Singh, 57, will hold the reins of the nation's second largest public sector refining and marketing company till September 2013.

The position of chairman and managing director at BPCL fell vacant in August after Ashok Sinha resigned from the job.


Kapil Sibal cautions against public spat by telcos

New Delhi: Telecom minister Kapil Sibal today termed as "unfortunate" the war of words between operators and cautioned that such practices were not healthy for the growth of the sector, reports PTI.

Asked to comment on operators accusing each other for being favoured by the government in spectrum allocation, he said such discourses in the public domain should be avoided.

"What I find today is very unfortunate, some operators are at war with others. This is because at any given point of time they felt that they had been discriminated against," he said.

However, he ensured a level playing-field for all the telecom service providers going forward.

When asked about Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata accusing BJP-led NDA regime for policy flip-flops in the telecom sector Sibal said, "I guess he (Ratan Tata) must be making that statement with some kind of knowledge and information. I cannot comment on that."

The minister, however, did not lose an opportunity to make a point saying that may be the reason why the opposition, which has been demanding a JPC probe into the second generation (2G) issue and has disrupted Parliament proceedings and does not want a debate on it.

Ratan Tata today said that many of the flip-flops in the telecom policies occurred during the BJP regime.

Tatas were accused by Mr Chandrasekhar for not being transparent and being one of the biggest beneficiaries of the government telecom policy.

Mr Tata has noted that the government auditor the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has not ascribed any value to 48 new GSM licences issued to incumbents during 2004-2008 and 65 Mhz of additional spectrum.


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