New Delhi asks JK to expedite urban reforms

Threatens Fund Blockade

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, Dec 15: The Government of India has made it clear to the Jammu and Kashmir government to initiate reforms in urban sector or face fund blockade in future under centrally sponsored schemes.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that the Union Urban Development Ministry earlier approved over Rs 1300 crore for around 110 development projects in Urban Local bodies of the State. These projects are part of government of India funded programs including Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) which aims at up gradation of infrastructure in twin capital cities and towns of the state.
“The funds have been approved with the rider that state government should carry out reforms to make the urban local bodies self sustaining or else the state will face blockade of the funds in future,” sources said.
Though government claims it has already introduced number of reforms it is still undecided over some major reforms including imposition of property tax in the cities and urban areas. The proposal for introducing the tax was first moved by the state government in 2002. However, due to strong opposition to it the matter was shelved.
Under pressure from the government of India, the government later introduced two proposed legislations regarding property tax and establishment of property board in the state legislature.
However, both the bills were sent to select committees by the Upper House after the legislators failed to reach any consensus over the issue.
An official said the state government is bound to initiate 25 reform measures as mandated by the union ministry to get funds.
“We have carried out around 8 to 10 reforms and the process for completing others is on,” said Minister for Housing and Urban Development Tara Chand.
He said the Centre has approved Rs 1,312 crore for taking up major urban infrastructure projects. “We are receiving financial assistance under the programs and we hope future funding will not stop,” he said.
He said any decision on introduction of the Property Tax would follow the recommendations from the select committees.
The Union Ministry had earlier blocked Rs 600 crore under the program to the State in view of government’s delay in making the reforms.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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