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Decks for Metro rail projects cleared: Union Minister

Written by: Staff
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Hyderabad, Apr 7 (UNI) The decks for the Metro rail projects across the country, dogged by the gauge controversy between the Ministries of Railways and the Union Urban Development, have been cleared with the Centre deciding to leave the decision on Gauge to the States concerned, Union Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy said today.

''The Metro rail projects in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai can right away start with the Union Cabinet on April five putting an end to the gauge controversy dogging for some time,'' he said whill inaugurating a national Convention on Urban Infrastructure Reforms with Public-private Linkages.

''The states are now free to decide on the gauge for construction and operation of the metro rail systems and the Centre will provide the required viability gap funding for the same,'' he added.

Since Urban development was a state subject, the Centre decided to leave the question of legislative framework for operation and maintenance of Metro rail systems within a municipal area to the states concerned.

Expressing excitement over the tremendous response from states to the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, he said his Ministry had received 141 Detailed Project Reports, including 48 from Andhra Pradesh.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, who delivered a special address at the convention organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, thanked the Centre for providing a lion's share of Rs 1200 crore worth projects of the total Rs 1600 crore worth Urban Development projects sanctioned for the entire country during 2005-06 under the JNURM.

The Union Minister said States going to polls were unable to get their projects cleared in view of the Election Commission's model code of conduct. Projects of the states like West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu would be cleared soon after the polls, he added.

Dismissing as ''intellectual hypocracy'' some people preaching the virtues of rural life, yet enjoying the comforts of modern life in urban areas, he said ''urbanisation is nothing to grudge upon as it is an inevitable process of Industrial Revolution.'' UNI SM ROY DKS RN1631

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