Thursday, November 24, 2005

Bangalore woes wake up Centre

Bangalore woes wake up Centre
Ahluwalia Promises To Fast-Track Critical Projects
The Times of India

Bangalore: The down-in-the-dumps infrastructure of Bangalore might just get a push from the Centre. All critical projects — especially on traffic and roads — will be fasttracked within a year, according to Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

After holding meetings with CM N Dharam Singh and government officials, Ahluwalia said on Wednesday that some proposals put forth by Karnataka would be cleared before March-end. Karnataka, on its part, has sought 50% contribution from the Centre for its Rs 516-crore projects, which include flyovers and upgrading arterial roads, to ease traffic bottlenecks.

Union IT minister Dayanidhi Maran has already batted for Bangalore by urging PM Manmohan Singh to allocate Rs 500 crore for infrastructure under the National Urban Renewal Mission (NURM).

Karnataka, through a presentation to Ahluwalia, became the first state to set the stage to tap NURM funding. Highly impressed by the presentation on proposals, Ahluwalia said he would urge the urban development ministry to expedite the clearance.

Bangalore mess hasn’t surprised Ahluwalia, who said, “We anticipated it a year ago.’’ According to him, projects like Metro Rail are the “logical solutions’’. While Karnataka has asked the Centre to treat the Bangalore Metro Rail project on a par with Delhi’s, Ahluwalia said it won’t be treated in isolation. Yes, he did advise the state government on Metro: “Provide all clarifications the Centre may need on the project.’’

The CM said he was pleased with the visit of Ahluwalia, who liaises with the PM on infrastructure funding. Singh, in turn, got a pat from Ahluwalia, who rated Bangalore’s electricity distribution several notches above others’.

Bangalore infrastructure eliciting comments
BMP has spent Rs 460 crore on improving infrastructure
Bangalore has 4,500 km of road with 40,000 intersections
Plan to invest Rs 350 crore on intelligent traffic system
BMP to spend Rs 2,755 crore in 2-3 years to improve roads


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