With BJP’s backing, Puducherry govt expects steady stream of central projects

The union territory (UT) of Puducherry, which elected a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government for the first time in its history is now expecting good development projects to move ahead with the Center’s support.

Puducherry Chief Minister N. Rangasamy, who has the experience of having ruled the UT earlier also, is a tough bargainer and the central BJP leadership was not able to place one of its leaders as the Deputy Chief Minister of the UT even though it had put in immense pressure for the same.

However, sources in the BJP at Puducherry told IANS that the central leadership, for the time being, dose not want to upset Rangasamy and his All India NR Congress (AINRC) that is leading the coalition with the BJP and will continue with this combination.

The Central government has already sanctioned more than Rs 360 crore worth projects for the UT in health, education and infrastructure and the Chief Minister had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah to consider the proposals put forward by the UT government.

The Union government has already announced 105 projects in Puducherry at a cost of Rs 822 crore.

N. Rangasamy while speaking to media in Puducherry said that the Prime Minister has assured of all help to the UT.

Recently a delegation of the Puducherry government led by Public Works Department Minister, K. Lakshminarayanan met Bruno Bosle, India country Head of Agence Francaise De Development (AFD), the French agency for garnering support to a comprehensive drinking water project of Rs 523 crore and the French agency has agreed to support the project for another two-year time.

Lakshminarayanan while speaking to IANS said, “The present comprehensive drinking water project supported by the AFD is set to expire in June 2022 and after our meeting, they have agreed to extend it till June 2024 and that’s a major achievement.”

The Minister said that it was a soft loan at the rate of 1.5 per cent interest to be repaid in 15-years’ time.

The high totally dissolved salts (TDS) in the borewells of the UT are making them unfit for drinking and new borewells have to be dug in the rural areas while closing down the borewells with high TDS levels, he added.

The government is in the process of establishing a project implementation agency at the earliest for overseeing the work and according to current estimates, 50 fresh borewells would be dug in river beds in the rural areas of the UT.

K. Lakshminarayanan said, “Moreover we will be also installing more RO plants to increase the water supply and desalination plants have also been proposed under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) 2.0 programme. All this would lead to the drinking water issues in the territory being addressed positively with drinking water available to the whole of the population.”

The Puducherry Chief Minister has urged the Central government to provide Rs 150 crore for setting up a new 500-bed hospital for infectious or epidemic diseases in the Union Territory.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has already assured N. Rangasamy that the amount would be sanctioned soon and the state is expecting the clearance in the 2022 Union budget.

The state government has also applied for Rs 225 crore support for developing the present airport to cater to larger aircraft. The state has also pitched in for a water aerodrome to promote seaplane operations in the UT.

Another landmark project that would be coming up in the UT would be the film city project and theme park on a 100-acre site at Manapat beach. The project is conceived and to be implemented in a PPP model.

The Power Finance Corporation Company Ltd (PFCCL) had furnished a proposal under the smart metering project to implement the project on total expenditure model at an estimated cost of Rs 282 crore to all the existing consumer base of 4.04 lakh customers.

This proposal of the PFCCL was presented to the Puducherry government which has resent it to the Union government for approval and funding support. The Chief Minister said that the project will ensure 100 per cent collection efficiency and reduce the aggregate technical and commercial losses.

The UT is also actively campaigning with the Central government for a minor port under the Sagaramala scheme. The territory is also expecting an increase of 10 per cent of the central funding every year after the NDA government has come to power.

20211230-085601

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