Govt to ease funding norms under JnNURM

Move aims at bringing smaller cities under the ambit of scheme

With an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha poll, the Centre is all set to relax norms to grant funds to purchase buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) aiming to bring smaller cities under the ambit of the scheme.

As per the proposal by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), cities with a population of less than 10 lakh will be funded to enable them to have proper public transport system.

In the 2013 Budget, the government had announced purchase of 10,000 new buses under the JnNURM in 2013-14 at a cost of Rs 4,500 crore. 

Despite Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram announcing that the buses would be provided only to hill states, sources in the MoUD said norms would be relaxed to include smaller cities.

Under the flagship programme, the Centre, between 2009-2012, had sanctioned 14,000 buses to 67 mission cities having 10 lakh population, and for North-Eastern states for cities with less than 10 lakh population.

“This time, cities with less than 10 lakh population and those that were not provided buses earlier will be covered. The funding pattern will remain the same, ranging from 35-90 per cent from the Centre depending on the city and the remaining has to be borne by the respective state government,” a senior official from the ministry told Deccan Herald.  

Since beneficiary cities will be smaller this time around, the ministry wants to fund the scheme.  Apart from the buses, the ministry will also fund terminals and depots after the bad experience during the first-phase of the implementation where buses were found lying idle for want of adequate depots and terminals, the official said.

The sources said several cities have already ordered low floor and semi-low floor buses and they were waiting for the Centre’s nod on their funding.

“We hope buses under JnNURM will be delivered soon to enable us to bring more areas under our network,” a managing director of a state transport undertaking told Deccan Herald.

Better pubic transport system and their operation for longer duration have gained importance following the Delhi gang-rape incident.

As the five state Assembly polls and Lok Sabha elections are fast approaching, the UPA are in the impression that by providing buses they can showcase their developmental schemes.

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