Shot in the arm for 24 cities in north Karnataka

State, ADB undertake Rs 1,980 cr initiative for urban infrastructure

Shot in the arm for 24 cities in north Karnataka

Christened as North Karnataka Urban Sector Investment Programme, with an assistance of Rs 1,236.07 crore from the Asian Development Bank, its primary objective is to improve urban infrastructure and provide better services with special focus on improving sanitation.

The selection of towns and cities for the ambitious programme is based on the report of the High Power Committee on Regional Imbalance headed by Dr D M Nanjundappa.

Since, the Committee has also identified Chamarajnagar as one of the most backward areas, it has also been included in the programme thus increasing the number of cities and towns being benefited to 25.

The programme proposed to be implemented in two phases of four years each intends to tackle both municipal and non-municipal services.

Phase-I includes infrastructural development in municipal services such as water supply, under ground drains, storm water drains and roads.

In phase-II, non-municipal services like slum improvement, tourism, fire and emergency services, and lake development are taken up.

For the effective execution of the NKUSIP, the KUIDFC, the principal executing agency, has set up its main regional office at Dharwad and four divisional offices at Gulbarga, Belgaum, Bellary and Dharwad. The Gulbarga division will cover three districts –– Gulbarga, Yadgir and Bidar.

Regions covered

The programme covers a total population of about 4.5 million across 1044 sq km. It includes all four mahanagara palikes of North Karnataka namely Gulbarga, Bellary, Belgaum and Hubli-Dharwad.

It also includes 15 city municipal councils, which are: Bidar, Yadgir, Shahabad, Raichur, Koppal, Gangavati, Hosapete, Gadag-Betageri, Haveri, Davanagere, Bijapur, Gokak, Ranebennur, Rabakavi-Banahatti and Nippani, and four town municipal councils:   Basavakalyan, Sindhanur, Jamakhandi and Ilkal.

The lone town panchayat is Badami, a famous tourist centre. The only area in South Karnataka to be benefited under the programme is the Chamarajnagar City Municipal Council.

The total cost of the programme has been estimated at Rs 1,980 crore.  The State government and the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) would contribute  40 per cent of the estimated cost while the remaining 60 per cent would be borne by ADB.

KUIDFC Deputy Project Director G M Chowdhuri of Gulbarga Division told Deccan Herald that except for water supply schemes the entire cost would be through grants for the ULBs. “This is one of the finest opportunities for time bound improvement of selected municipal areas of North Karnataka as KUIDFC has seized upon an ambitious initiative to give a much needed fillip to urban infrastructure,’’ Chowdhuri said.

For improving water supply, the respective ULB will be given 40 per cent loan at an interest of 8.5 per cent, while 50 per cent will be through grants. The  respective ULBs will have to contribute the remaining 10 per cent through its internal resources.

For other municipal services, there would be 90 per cent grants and ULB contribution will only be 10 per cent.

If the NKUSIP is implemented in the right earnest the face of urban North Karnataka will  change for the better five years from now.

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