All the seven Union Territories accounting for 16 urban local bodies including the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi will become Open Defecation Free (ODF) by March next year. Respective Governments have committed to this effect during a two day review of progress of new urban missions that concluded here today.

The high level review held today was chaired by the Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, M. Venkaiah  Naidu. Lieutenant Governor  of Delhi, Anil Baijal, of Andaman & Nicobar Islands Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, Chief Minister of Puducherry, V. Narayanasamy, Urban Development Minister of Puducherry, M. Krishna Rao and Urban Development Minister of Delhi, Satyendra Jain attended the high level review. Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep were represented by senior officials.

Venkaiah Naidu urged all the seven UTs to speed up implementation of various urban missions meant for improving infrastructure relating to sanitation, water supply and sewerage and affordable housing. He assured that all support will be provided to address capacity constraints of smaller UTs to help them pick up momentum.

During the review Delhi Government officials informed that 6.22 lakh households  in Delhi will be provided with water taps over the next two years under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). At present 23.78 lakh households accounting for 58% of the total 41 lakh households have water connections and this will be increased to 73% under AMRUT. Sewerage connectivity will be increased from the present  57% to 65% under AMRUT. Naidu requested LG of Delhi to sort out issues related to forest and ridge lands and unauthorized colonies to ensure full coverage under water supply.

Progress of works under AMRUT in Delhi for which the Ministry of Urban Development approved an investment of Rs. 802 cr for the five year period 2015-20 has been reviewed in detail.

Noting sanitation as a major area of concern in Delhi, Shri Naidu asked the Delhi Government and municipal bodies to focus on solid waste management and segregation of municipal waste at source.

It was assured that South and East MCDs will become Open Defecation Free by October this year while North MCD will do so by December this year. Only three of 201 individual household toilets for which demand has so far been received have been so far built besides 11,138 of the 22,891 community and public toilet seats required.

Of the 16 urban local bodies in the UTs, only three viz., New Delhi Municipal Council, Chandigarh and Mahe in Puducherry have become ODF so far. During the review, respective governments committed to make other 13 ULBs ODF by March next year.

Concern was also expressed over the three MCDs of Delhi not so far initiating work relating to Credit Rating and replacing old water pump sets by energy efficient ones. It was assured that MoU in this regard will be signed with EESL by September this year.

Noting that an affordable housing need of over 3 lakh units in Delhi has been indicated based on earlier surveys Naidu urged DDA and Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board to act fast and in tandem and send all proposals at the earliest so that construction of houses can be completed by 2022.

NDMC has been asked to speed up execution of its smart city plan with focus on impactful projects like smart roads and smart parking, pedestrianisation of Connaught Place etc.

Venkaiah Naidu thanked LG of Delhi, Anil Baijal for ensuring focus on sanitation in and overall development of Delhi since he assumed office and said that his experience and wisdom will help the cause of national capital.

Naidu complimented Chandigarh for being the first city to ensure water taps to all the households under AMRUT. City officials informed that over 1,600 households have been provided with water taps further to which all the 2.10 lakh households now have taps.

Under the Smart City plan of Chandigarh, 50 kms of cycle tracks have already been laid and work in respect of another 40 kms is in progress at a total cost of Rs.18 cr. Smart parking is being developed at 25 locations to accommodate over 50,000 vehicles. City officials also informed that work on retrofitting of Sector -43 at a cost of Rs.4,500 cr will begin by the end of current financial year. Chandigarh’s smart city plan has been approved at a cost of Rs. 6,272 cr, the highest of the 90 smart cities so far approved.

Venkaiah Naidu stressed on the importance of quality urban infrastructure in UTs. He said that Delhi being the  national capital is the point of convergence of hopes and aspirations of the people o0f the country leading to rising migrant population while Chandigarh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and other smaller UTs are major tourist destinations.

He urged the Ministry officials to ensure necessary support to and hand holding of smaller UTs to speed up implementation of projects under the newly launched urban missions.

Reacting to the suggestion of taking up sweeping during night time, LG of Delhi, Anil Baijal asked municipal bodies to introduce mechanized sweeping during night time in identified areas to start with. He stressed on the need to look at the staffing norms and quality standards to enhance the capacities of municipal bodies in the context of new urban planning and execution approaches being introduced under Smart City Mission and other initiatives.

LG of Andaman & Nicobar Islands Prof. Jagdish Mukhi suggested deployment of Project Management Units to smaller UTs for two years to address constraints in this regard besides strengthening broadband connectivity. Puducherry Chief Minister, V. Narayanasamy referred to the problem of sand availability in the UT and the efforts being made to ensure toilet construction in time. He assured that LED lighting will be completed at the earliest.

Urban Development Minister of Delhi, Satyendra Jain stated that the focus in the national capital is on building community and public toilet seats since those who have land built individual household toilets. He suggested changes in Master Plan of Delhi so that government hospitals and other institutions are not required to meet parking norms at par with private entities. With this, M. Venkaiah Naidu has completed review of progress of urban missions in 29 States and UTs so far.

-Compiled by delhiNCRnews.in bureau

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