New Delhi, Oct 12 (Calcutta Tube) Nine private companies have bid for 15 pilot projects under the government’s Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) scheme that seeks to enhance livelihood opportunities in rural areas through public-private-partnership (PPP), an official said Monday.
Rural Development Secretary B.K. Sinha told reporters that private companies will work ‘as an agent of the panchayats’ for improving rural infrastructure.
PURA was envisaged by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as a self-sustainable and viable model of service delivery in rural areas to be managed through an implementation framework between local people, public authorities and the private sector.
The scheme was re-configured after extensive consultation and research process with state governments, private sector and multi-lateral development organizations. It was initiated as a pilot in PPP mode early this year when several private players evoked Expression of Interest (EOI).
Sinha said the reconfigured scheme is poised to herald a paradigm shift in rural development and is the first attempt at delivering infrastructure and amenities through PPP in the rural areas.
‘It is expected that PURA, where all related schemes for rural infrastructure are being converged for synchronized delivery for 10 years, shall maximize socio-economic impact,’ he said.
Apart from the rural development ministry, the funds for PURA will come from other central schemes, private financing and capital grants.
Sinha said the execution of projects had been well laid out, with amenities such as water, sewerage, construction and maintenance of village streets, drainage, solid waste management and skill development provided under the rural development ministry schemes.
The officials said that the Memorandum of Understanding likely to be signed by early next year and the scheme will be upscaled after evaluating the response of the pilot projects. The bids had been received for pilot projects in Rajasthan, Kerala, Puducherry, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.
The officials said the companies short-listed include Jindal Steel & Power Ltd, IL&FS Limited, Infrastructure Kerala Limited, Marg Ltd., Buldana Urban cooperative Society Ltd., A2Z Maintenance and Engineering Services Ltd., Megha Engineering Infrastructure Limited, Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited and SVEC Constructions Ltd..