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The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre has approved over Rs 4.13 lakh crore for improving basic urban infrastructure in the last three years, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said today. The approved investment is higher by about 250 per cent over Rs 1.18 lakh crore okayed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) of the UPA government between 2004 and 2014, he said. "Per capita investment of Rs 15,475 has so far been approved between 2014 and 2017 under new urban missions for a five year period as compared to Rs 4,918 approved for the earlier 10 years," the Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation minister said. Naidu said over threefold increase in investments, per capita spending and central assistance, among others, are driving the much-needed urban transformation in the country. He said that a "framework" has been introduced to ensure objective selection of cities and allocation of central funds without "any discretion and discrimination". Underlining that "it was challenging task", Naidu said 2,843 government houses were evicted from unauthorised occupation during the last three years, which included 411 houses occupied by former MPs and ministers. "Houses under unauthorised occupation of former MPs and ministers amounted to 15 per cent of the total got vacated.
As many as 226 were evicted by initiating eviction procedures while another 185 had to vacate under sustained pressure and follow up," the minister said. Informing the mediapersons that still 190 cases related to unauthorised occupation are pending in courts, including 80 in High Court and 110 in district courts, Naidu said, "the long hand of law will reach them". Naidu said 322 Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and smart cities have acquired credit ratings of which 147 have got investment grade. As many as 163 cities have initiated measures for mobilising resources through 'Value Capture Financing' tools. A 'city liveability index' will be launched on June 23 at 'National Workshop on Urban Transformation' here, he said, adding the next batch of smart cities will be announced on June 23. The Centre has already announced 60 smart cities that will get central assistance of Rs 500 crore each for carrying out various developmental projects under the mission. About implementation of projects, Naidu said it would not be possible to transform a city into a smart city overnight and it takes time to implement various projects. He said the Environment Ministry had yesterday issued a notification doing away with the need for a separate clearance from that ministry for construction and building projects up to 1,50,000 sqm in Delhi. Such approvals, will henceforth, will be issued by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the three MCDs in their jurisdiction, Naidu said. Operational metro projects in the country is would be doubled from the present 346 km over the next two years, he said, adding President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate a metro section in Bengaluru on June 17, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Kochi metro in Kerala on the same day. To a query, Naidu said transfer of officials should not be based only on a reason to stop corruption. "Action will be taken if any an official is found involved in corruption," the minister said, adding that he has issued a number of notices and imposed penalties on officials found guilty in offices attached to his ministries.