GUWAHATI, April 18 – Union Minister for Urban Development and Housing M Venkaiah Naidu today said that progress in many schemes under his ministry in the Northeastern states, including Assam, is not “up to the mark” and asked these states to introduce reforms so that they can catch up with the rest of the country.
Naidu, who reviewed the progress of four major missions of the Central government – AMRUT, Swachh Bharat Mission, Smart Cities and PMAY in the Northeastern states, blamed the previous Congress government in Assam for “neglecting urban development issues.”
In other states, there are issues related to community ownership of land and transportation bottlenecks in interiors, due to which the implementation of schemes has been poor, he observed.
Coverage of water supply was as low as 30 per cent in Nagaland, 38 per cent in Manipur and 67 per cent in Assam, he said, noting that the states had the potential to vastly improve in the sector and provide piped water supply round the clock.
Under AMRUT, the minister said that plans worth Rs 1,502 crore have been approved for the NE states, of which Rs 170 crore has been released as first instalments. “Work has started in 90 per cent of the projects in Mizoram and 75 per cent in Sikkim. Other states need to take action,” he said.
Naidu said while most states are competing with each other to reach Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, the Northeast also needs to catch up.
“Mizoram and Manipur have 20 per cent urban local bodies declared as ODF, while Sikkim and Arunachal have shown good progress in toilet construction, meeting 60 per cent of the targets. Other states need to speed up implementation,” the minister told a press conference after the review meeting.
He also expressed dissatisfaction at the progress of the Smart City project in Guwahati.
“States and selected smart cities need to expedite the pace of putting in place the institutional arrangements and project preparation,” he said.