Jamshedpur seems to have fared a tad better than Ranchi and Dhanbad on the Crisil scorecard on reform processes under JNNURM taken up by local urban bodies.
Crisil Infrastructure Advisory (a wing of Crisil, the global analytics company), hired by the Union urban development ministry to appraise reforms in cities under JNNURM across nine states, sent its representative on a weeklong survey of Jharkhand in Ranchi, Dhanbad and Jamshedpur.
The survey’s aim was evident. The Union urban development ministry wanted to know how well the promised JNNURM schemes were shaping up and whether agreed timelines were adhered to.
Ramesh Turaka, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory senior consultant, winded up the survey on Friday after a meeting with special officers of Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC), Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC) and Jugsalai Municipality.
Big-ticket projects under JNNURM sanctioned for Jharkhand are the city bus service and solid waste management, acting on the premise that cheap and affordable transport as well as civic hygiene were two of the most pressing urban needs.
Crisil Infrastructure Advisory teams came twice to Jharkhand this year, in March and now in August. Crisil will submit its report to the Union ministry of urban development in September last week.
Sharing his observations, Turaka said: “Manpower crunch is a reality in all three cities. The prospect of earning revenues is also low, which retards self-sufficiency and the pace of reforms. We strongly suggest appointments in all three cities for JNNURM schemes to proceed smoothly.”
The senior consultant went on: “There has been a marked improvement in reforms undertaken by the local urban bodies in all the three cities, especially in Jamshedpur. All the three local civic bodies of the steel city have brought about reforms in their account mechanism by taking services of chartered accountants.”
While number-crunchers may be happy with this assessment, it is unlikely that the aam aadmi will share this optimism.
Big Jamshedpur projects are Rs 35.36-crore solid waste management — its tender process was completed only in July — and Rs 50-crore city bus service. These projects, sanctioned in 2006-07, are being run in the Jamshedpur urban agglomeration area covering the city, Jugsalai, Mango, Adityapur (Seraikela-Kharsawan), village panchayats of Bagbera, Haludbani, Gadhra, Ghorabandha, Parsudih, Kitadih, Sarjamda and Chotagovindpur.
The Jamshedpur city bus service — only 20 vehicles run out of 50 — has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, with intermittent strikes over non-payment of dues to drivers and conductors.
In the capital, out of the 70 buses, 45 run properly. The bus service in the capital got regularised in the last couple of months. In Dhanbad, 30 out of 70 buses run, with major snags being payment and parking. In both the cities, 100 buses were promised initially.
Still, Turaka said reforms were to be praised as they took place “despite constraints of manpower and revenue”.
He reserved his warmest praise for the “earnestness” of Jamshedpur’s three civic bodies to computerise records.
“The JNAC and MNAC have websites, while Jugsalai Municipality is in process of developing its own. Steps are being taken to digitise tasks such as collection of electricity, holding, etc,” said Turaka.