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Focus on developing 'rural-urban' clusters: Jairam Ramesh

The Hindu, 27 January, 2014


Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Dokka Manikya Varaprasada Rao, Rural Development Minister of Andhra Pradesh, addressing the media after presiding over the signing of PURA Pilot Project in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

NEW DELHI: Recognising that the creation of infrastructure in emerging 'rural-urban' clusters remains a “major challenge”, the Rural Development Ministry is hoping that its revamped project for developing amenities in such areas will yield results soon, similar to the flagship scheme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).


Currently, there are around 3,900 such clusters in the country which do not fall either in rural or urban category. Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday said his Ministry will undertake projects such as water supply, sanitation, street lighting, tourism and improvement of roads through public-private partnership mode in such areas.


The Project is re-christened as new PURA (Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas).


Mr. Ramesh was speaking after signing of the Concession Agreement and State Support Agreement for the PURA project in Ibrahimpatnam and Kondapalli Gram Panchayat clusters of Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh.


“PURA marks a major departure in the way, we approach development strategy,” said Mr. Ramesh and expressed hope that in the 12th Five Year Plan, it will be one of the important elements for creation of physical infrastructure in the rural areas.


Just as MNREGA has become synonymous with the Ministry of Rural Development, in the next ten years the Ministry should be known for PURA projects in the country, he added.


Additionally, the Minister said soon PURA-2 will be launched, where Centre will select the developers, while the state governments will choose the clusters for creation of infrastructure.


L.C. Goyal, Rural Development Secretary said the Ministry is committed to the grounding of good PURA projects across the country to ensure people in rural areas do not feel deprived of urban amenities and do not have the urge to migrate to cities in search of good living.


According to Mr. Goyal there are 4 Ps in the model as this is not only about Public Private Partnership, but also about involvement of People and communities at Gram Panchayat level.