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Drain revamp to get big money

The capital’s hopes of getting a streamlined sewerage will crystallise soon, as big money is set to come to Ranchi Municipal Corporation’s way via a long-delayed but revived JNNURM project.

The mega four-phase project worth around Rs 1,500 crore was left hanging when a Singapore-based agency, Meinhardt, which prepared the detailed project report in 2008 by dividing the city into four zones, moved court when the state did not pay its fee for the job.

Nearly six years later, on January 21, the Centre sanctioned Rs 302 crore needed for the first phase of the project.

On Friday, Jharkhand High Court prodded the Centre to release Rs 60 crores as the first installment to pave way for the the first phase to begin.

The zone of Phase I is the VIP one between Piska and Booty More. It covers Morabadi, Kanke and nearby areas.

Another significant development on the remaining three phases — and their zones — also happened on Friday.

A delegation of Japan Infrastructure Corporation Agency (JICA), a financial institution under the Japanese government that invests in civic development projects across the globe, met RMC officials.

The JICA, approached by the Centre, agreed to pay a soft loan of Rs 1,200 crore for phases II, III and IV of the Ranchi sewerage revamp project, but will first make a survey of the city based on the revamp DPR.

About the JICA visit, RMC CEO Manoj Kumar said the team led by K. Okazaki went through the DPR on Friday.

The soft loan, for a tenure of 40 years, is crucial to the project. If the JICA’s six-month physical inspection is satisfactory, it will release Rs 1,200 crore to the Centre, which will be routed to RMC through the state government. The RMC, which has to pay the loan at nominal interest for 40 years, will also get a breather for the first 10 years. The civic body will have to start repaying the loan from the 11th year.

“We have appointed our deputy CEO Om Prakash to coordinate with the JICA team here,” Kumar added.

The JICA team did not look very happy with some aspects of the DPR, but Kumar downplayed it.

“JICA’s evaluation will culminate in a final report by August. By December, loan formalities will begin, which is likely to end in March 2015. Funds will tentatively arrive in May 2015,” Kumar said.