Punjab yet to utilise central funds for cities: Shelja

Chandigarh, May 17 (IANS) Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja Monday said that Punjab is still to fully avail funds allocated under a central scheme for development of infrastructure in cities.

She was referring to the allocation made under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), a flagship programme of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

‘Against the 7-year allocation of central assistance of Rs.617.02 crore, Punjab is yet to avail Rs.547.10 crore. We do not know the reason why this state is so reluctant to avail this,’ said Selja, while addressing reporters.

She added: ‘We have taken up this issue with them (Punjab officials) at the highest level not once but many times. Even the chief minister had met me and he was very enthusiastic about this but I think they could not finalise anything.’

Selja, who is a MP representing Ambala constituency in Haryana, was in this union territory Monday to inaugurate tourism related projects here.

‘Not only Punjab but there are two-three more states like Bihar and Rajasthan that are very laggard and have not availed of the already allocated quota of the money under the JNNURM,’ pointed out Selja.

In comparison, Punjab’s capital city Chandigarh and neighbouring state Haryana have already availed their 7-year allocation from the central government under the JNNURM.

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