The Telegraph
Saturday , December 15 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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State seeks World Bank aid

Ranchi, Dec. 14: Jharkhand today sought assistance from a visiting team of World Bank and central officials for a pending sewerage and drainage project in Ranchi and unbundling of the state power utility.

The plan to install a centralised sewerage and drainage system in Ranchi has been pending for years due to several problems, the latest being the ministry of urban development’s denial to fund the project under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

On the other hand, the unbundling — forming separate companies for generation, transmission, distribution, et al — of Jharkhand State Elect ricity Board (JSEB) is expected to cost around Rs 2,800 crore.

The touring team comprising ministry of finance director Nilaya Mitash, World Bank lead economist of social protection in India John Blomquist, senior education and institutional development specialist Shabnam Sinha and senior economist Rajni Khanna — held a meeting chaired by chief secretary S.K. Choudhary at Project Building today.

“The World Bank officials expressed eagerness to assist Ranchi’s sewerage and drainage project, which will cost about Rs 1,650 crore. We will be submitting a detailed proposal soon,” urban development secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni told The Telegraph.

Highly placed government sources said World Bank has earmarked assistance to the tune of one million dollars for Jharkhand, regarding which the state is supposed to send specific proposals.

Director in the department of economic affairs under the ministry of finance Nilaya Mitash, however, refused comment on the matter.

Jharkhand has already spent about Rs 25 crore on preparing a detailed project report (DPR) for the proposed sewerage system in the state capital by engaging Singapore-based consultancy major Meinhardt.

The state had sent a formal proposal to the ministry of urban development at the fag end of 2011-12, by when the JNNURM’s original plan period lapsed.

The Centre later expressed its unwillingness to fund any fresh project, though the JNNURM plan period was extended for two years only for ongoing projects.

The state capital lacks a proper sewerage facility, with open drains in central areas often presenting a filthy look, especially during monsoon.

The proposal for unbundling of JSEB is also pending for about a decade.

The state’s effort to create companies with specific tasks within JSEB has been opposed by several power workers union. Even the latest move to privatise distribution of electricity in Ranchi and Jamshedpur by roping in Tata Power and Calcutta-based CESC is being opposed tooth and nail by the employees who forced a complete blackout across the state recently.

The state officials today also sought help for setting up many health sub-centres and other rural health establishments, but sources said the World Bank officials did not welcome the plea.

Chief secretary Choudhary said the meeting should be fruitful for the state, which would soon submit detailed proposals in the areas concerned.

Chief minister’s principal secretary D.K. Tiwary told The Telegraph that Arjun Munda had earlier given his nod for external funding of JSEB’s unbundling as the mammoth task could not have been undertaken with state resources.

The high-level meeting was also attended by development commissioner Debashish Gupta, HRD principal secretary B.K. Tripathy and senior officials in the finance, energy, road construction, agriculture, forest & environment, health & family welfare, industry, planning and institutional finance departments.