Focus on developing 'rural-urban' clusters: Ramesh

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New Delhi, Jan 27: With creating infrastructure in 'rural-urban' clusters emerging as a "major challenge", Rural Development Ministry is hoping that its revamped project for developing amenities in such areas will show results in coming years like MNREGA- its job scheme for villages.

Noting that there are about 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 like water supply, sanitation, street lighting, tourism and improvement of roads through public-private partnership mode in such areas.

The Project is rechristened as new PURA (Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas). Ramesh was speaking here 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.

D M Varaprasada Rao, Andhra Pradesh's Minister for Rural Development, was also present during the signing ceremony. "PURA marks a major departure in the way, we approach development strategy," Ramesh said 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.

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 said. The Minister also 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.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Rural Development L C Goyal said, the Ministry is putting lots of emphasis in grounding of good PURA projects across the country so that 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.

He said, 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.

PTI

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