India Inc to lend help in rural uplift

The Union Ministry for Rural Development’s plan is to invite the corporate sector under the PPP (public private partnership) model for Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), the dream scheme of former President A P J Abdul Kalam.

Though the “expression of interest” was invited for just 10 pilot projects, over 95 companies, from both public and private domain like Tata, Jindal, IDFC, NEPC, IL&FS, IVRCL Infrastructure and Reliance Energy, have applied for bidding.

As per the guidelines, the government will allow a company to select a cluster of villages, each having 25,000 to 40,000 population.

The company then has to submit a master plan to improve the villages, including instituting water and sewerage facilities, maintenance of streets and solid waste management projects.

The selected company will get 35 per cent of the total funds to improve a village from the Centre, and it will have to pump in the rest of the money. As per the ministry’s preliminary estimation, the average investment for each project may be Rs 100 crore.

The concession period, during which the company will run the villages, will be 13 years, including the three-year construction period. During the period, the company, apart from maintaining the facilities, will be allowed to collect user fee for its services at a government-fixed rate. The companies can also build cold storage, set up mini power plant using agricultural waste, rural tourism, rural market and skill development training centres, Sinha added.

“Before signing the MoU, the company has to take the approval from the state government as well as local panchayat,” B K Sinha, secretary, Ministry of Rural Development told Deccan Herald. Initially, 10 village clusters will be selected under the pilot project.

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