Jharkhand expedites reforms to get schemes for poor: Selja

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Raipur, Oct 25 (UNI) The Centre and Jharkhand government are making efforts to speed up reforms at the state and local bodies level to derive benefits of the ambitious schemes for the urban poor.

At present Jharkhand is not getting the benefits under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission for want of some reforms to be undertaken at the level of state as well as local bodies. ''We are working to remove the hurdles so that the schemes for the urban poor could be implemented in Jharkhand'', Union Minister of State for Housing and Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja told UNI here.

Ms Selja, who was here to lay the foundation stone for the construction of 200 houses under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) in Rajnandgaon district and to launch the JNNURM project in the state capital, said that the reforms with regard to the urban local bodies concerned were necessary under the 74th amendment to the constitution.

The reforms to be undertaken by local bodies and the Jharkhand government include ''conduct of urban civic body polls, which is mandatory to get funds under the mission. Besides, the state also has to repeal the Urban Land Cealing Act and make local bodies self-reliant by making finances available.

Jharkhand, a state carved out along with Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand in November 2000, could not get the benefits under the mission as it failed to be eligible to receive funds approximately to the tune of Rs 5000 crore.

The funds being provided under the JNNURM and IHSDP are to be utilised under 13 different heads, including construction of houses for urban poor, improvement of sewerage and drainage system, drinking water supply mechanism, solid waste management and urban transportation.

Asked whether the centre would consider providing any special package for housing for urban poor and make cities and towns slum free in three newly formed states, Ms Selja said these states had already been allocated more funds than any other state while Uttarakhand has a special status because of its hilly regions.

UNI

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