With the Centre hinting at plans to include more cities under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), it is perhaps time for the leaders from Karnataka in general and those from North Karnataka in particular to bat for the inclusion of Hubli-Dharwad under the scheme.
While Dharwad MP Prahlad Joshi is raising the issue in Parliament in a bid to get the the twin-cities included under the mission, the fact remains that the Planning Commissioner has rejected the government’s proposal to include 28 cities having a population of half a million under JNNURM citing resource constraints.
Minister of State for Urban Development Sugata Roy had stated in Lok Sabha that the ministry had proposed to include 28 cities or urban agglomerations with a population of half a million and above under the Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) of JNNURM and “on account of resource constraints, the Planning Commission did not agree to include these cities under UIG of JNNURM”.
The cities proposed top be included include Guntur, Warangal, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Belgaum, Mangalore and Hubli-Dharwad, Durg-Bhilai Nagar, Kozhikode, Gwalior, Amravati, Bhiwandi, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Solapur, Cuttack, Jalandhar, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Kota, Salem, Tiruppur, Tiruchirappalli, Aligarh, Bareilly, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur and Moradabad.
The twin city missed the best chance to be included under JNNURM by a whisker and Mysore had replaced Hubli-Dharwad. The political parties had blamed each other for the non-inclusion of Hubli-Dharwad saying there was no proposal from the state government for inclusion of Hubli-Dharwad. While the Congress claimed it had recommended the inclusion of the twin city along with Bangalore and Mysore, the BJP alleged that there was no scope for inclusion of three cities from a state and the lapse deprived Hubli-Dharwad of the opportunity of being developed under JNNURM.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi during the assembly elections in 2008 had promised to include Hubli-Dharwad under the mission and nothing happened after that. The MPs from Karnataka who are ministers in the Union Cabinet should do everything possible to get Hubli-Dharwad included in the project. Hubli-Dharwad is emerging as the second cultural and commercial hub of Karnataka and JNNURM could change the face of the twin city completely.
If included, Hubli-Dharwad could get assistance to the tune of Rs 500 crore over a period of seven years and develop the infrastructure. This would enable it to attract investments and create employment opportunities.