Madhavi Rajadhyaksha, TNN, Feb 25, 2011, 02.51am IST
MUMBAI: Maharashtra is home to the largest number of urban poor in the country, but Rs 817.63 crore meant to provide them basic amenities remain unused. Latest Union minister of housing and urban poverty alleviation figures reveal that the state has utilized only 42% of funds released under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)’s sub-mission for the urban poor.
Maharashtra has 1.46 crore urban poor and has received the largest share of funds — Rs 1,409.69 crore — from the Centre. JNNURM projects work in select cities and are based on a shared model of funding between the centre, state and civic bodies.
The funds are meant to provide urban poor with improved housing, water supply and sanitation. They are also used to ensure that they receive other universal services such as education, health and social security.
Among the poor performers, Maharashtra’s utilisation lags even behind Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh where governments have used 46%, 46% and 4% central funds. Among the worst performers are Punjab and Goa.
Officials said reasons for under-utilisation range from slow progress of projects, non-furnishing of project proposals for sanction and lack of litigation-free land. Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ Centre for Urban Governance and Planning chairperson Amita Bhide said the state government interprets basic services to the poor mostly in terms of slum rehabilitation.
”Within that too there are no projects for improvement of slums, but largely only for relocation of slumdwellers to far-flung areas,” she said.
”While the goals are ambitious, they are not in keeping with the people’s needs.” She said the projects often require coordination of a lot of factors such as procuring land, building designs and permissions as well as resistance from the people who are relocated.
National Alliance of Peoples Movement’s Simpreet Singh said ironically Maharashtra government often uses the lack of funds as an excuse for not providing affordable houses to the poor in cities.