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Drain funds by March

The Union government on Wednesday informed Jharkhand High Court that funds for construction of drainage and sewerage systems in the capital would be released by the second week of March.

Counsel Mokhtar Khan, representing the Union government told a division bench of Chief Justice R. Banumathi and Justice S. Chandrashekhar that Rs 60 crore would be released to the state for expenditure in the first phase of the project by March 13.

The bench, hearing a petition filed by Lallan Kumar Sharma for construction of a sewerage and drainage system in Ranchi, directed the Union government to ensure that the payments were released within the stipulated time.

The court also ordered both the Union and state governments to take keen a interest in the project and ensure its proper execution.

Sharma had earlier filed a PIL for removing encroachments from Harmu River that runs through the heart of the city but has become a garbage dump.

It was while disposing of his petition that the court directed the state government to develop a sewerage and drainage system for the capital.

However, since the state government did not comply with the court order to construct the drainage system, Sharma filed a contempt petition before the high court.

The Union government has agreed to facilitate funds to the tune of over Rs 300 crore under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for the first phase of the work.

Rs 60 crore would be paid as part payment of the amount earmarked for the first phase of the project, Khan told the court.