States which are laggards in spending funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Mission (JNNURM) will have to be on their toes, thanks to a recent directive by the Union Urban Development Ministry.
In view of laxity in implementing the projects under the mission, the ministry for the first time has issued warning to give back funds in case they fail to complete the projects by March 2014.
The ministry asked the states to return funds along with interest in case they miss the target deadline of March 2014. The ministry had kept the initial target to complete the projects by March 2012.
The mission aims to encourage “reforms and fast-track planned development of identified cities with a focus on efficiency in urban infrastructure and service delivery mechanisms.
It is learnt that over half of the total 551 sanctioned projects are still under various stages of construction. In other words, just 184 have been completed so far under the programme which has committed over Rs 286 billion for 552 projects involving a total investment of over Rs 620 billion. Of a total 64 sanctioned projects in 17 states, none is completed so far.
The union ministry also made it clear to them that in case of the delay beyond target deadline, they will have to bear the project cost by themselves and it will not be possible to release any JNNURM funds thereafter, he added.
Besides this, the states may also have to refund the amount released so far to them along with applicable rate of interest to government. The states should therefore send their ripe UCs without any further delay.