Pvt biz houses interested in rural development: Joshi
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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 23:01
New Delhi: Government's efforts to involve private sector in rural development has evoked encouraging response with as many as 93 business houses showing willingness to participate in a central scheme to bridge the rural-urban divide.

Welcoming their response, Rural Development Minister C P Joshi said the scheme would usher in a new era of development enabling the rural population to avail of basic infrastructure facilities.

"Private partners selected for this scheme will work for a Gram Panchayat of 25,000-40,000 population or a group of geographically connected Gram Panchayats," Joshi said today.

The ministry had invited an expression of interest from the private sector a few months back. The companies, which have sent their proposal include Tata Power, Tata Realty and Infrastructure, Jindal Steels and Power, Reliance Energy, IL&FS, IDFC and Drishti.

A senior official of the ministry said implementation of the scheme is likely to commence from January next year after completion of the process including selection of the private partners and Detailed Project Reports (DPR).

The private partners will be involved in activities related to water and sewerage, construction and maintenance of streets, drainage, solid waste management and skill development.

In addition, there will be provision for street lights in village lanes, telephone, other electrical works, rural tourism, village centers and rural markets, common centres for agriculture, ware housing and other projects involving rural economy.

The central scheme, PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas), had first been implemented on a pilot basis from 2004-05 for a period of three years in seven clusters -- one each in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.

Under the 11th Plan, Rs 248 crore has been sanctioned to implement the scheme on a pilot basis again in ten Panchayats or Panchayat clusters, for a period of 13 years.

The scheme envisages holistic and accelerated development of areas around a potential growth centre in a gram panchayat or group of gram panchayats in PPP framework.

The framework of bringing together public funds and private capital for creation of infrastructure in rural areas and leveraging upon private sector expertise to manage and maintain the same during the concession period, forms the essence of the re-structured PURA scheme, a dream project of former President APJ Abdul Kalam.


First Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 23:01

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