THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For the last three years, this is one word the City Corporation has chanted thousands of times - ‘JNNURM’. Whenever solid waste management at Vilappilsala came under the scanner, whenever sewage in the city chose to take a road path and when many of the slums and low-lying areas were submerged after a rain, the Corporation hid behind the big word JNNURM and promised that it would solve all problems.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was kicked off by the Government of India in 2005-06 for a duration of seven years to provide urban infrastructure and governance in 63 cities in India. However, it took off in Thiruvananthapuram only towards the end of 2009. Though the Mission would wind up this year, the Centre has mooted a ‘New Improved JNNURM’ (NiJNNURM), also referred to as ‘JNNURM Plus’, to take forward the project format.
The project covers many components in the city - solid waste management project at Vilappilsala, sewerage treatment plant at Muttathara, storm water management project, water supply project (handed over to the KWA), urban transport (handed over to the KSRTC), slum development and e-governance (added lately).
The urban slum development project, which is a major component, is being handled by the KSUDP.
While the solid waste management project has met with local resistance at Vilappilsala, the sewerage project has been caught up in land acquisition rows.
The storm water management is moving at a slow pace over removing a Railway culvert at Thampanoor. The water supply project has covered 75 per cent of the work and in e-governance, the tenders have been called for.
The rate proposed by the Central project for awarding works has been one of the major hindrances faced by the Corporation for the smooth awarding of works. ‘’Had it been at Central PWD rates, the works would have got takers. But at the rate proposed, no contractors are willing to take up the works. We have had to annually revise the rate, which caused us additional burden,’’ said G Happykumar, Deputy Mayor.
The JNNURM-wing in the Corporation is of the opinion that the duration of the project would be extended.
‘’Maybe, new projects would not be sanctioned. But the grants that are given would continue for the time period. Even if it jumps to JNNURM Plus, none of the projects would be affected, except maybe the release of the Global Environment Fund (GEF),’’ said a top JNNURM official.
Which means, a bit of determination, peppered with the will to implement the project, could turn many of the concrete structures under the JNNURM into useful infrastructure facilities for the public. Without the fear of an impending deadline hovering above the Corporation’s head.