USD 1 billion World Bank loan for urban projects

"World Bank has agreed in principle to give us USD 1 billion (Rs 5000 crore) for implementing various schemes under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)," said a senior Urban Development Ministry official.

The loan amount is expected to be delivered early next year."Negotiations are in the final stage and we are hopeful of getting the loan in 2011," the official said, adding, "government may go for more loan from the World Bank later depending upon the implementation of projects."

At present, 523 projects related to urban infrastructure development are being implemented in 65 cities across the country.Admitting fund crunch, the official said, "Government has already committed about Rs 58,000 crore for as many projects in 65 mission cities under the JNNURM and there is a shortage of funds."

Majority of funds are committed for projects in water supply, solid waste management, sewerage and drainage system and houses for the poor.JNNURM, a flagship programme launched in 2005, is meant for improvement of water supply, roads, sanitation, infrastructure and transportation in urban areas.

According to an evaluation of JNNURM by the Planning Commission, it has achieved much of what was expected from it so far."There is a need for development of urban infrastructure in cities considering the rapid urbanisation in the country and that is why we have sought the loan from the World Bank," the official said.

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