New Delhi: The Congress-led UPA government is likely to close an ambitious project Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA), the dream project of former President APJ Abdul Kalam during the NDA rule.
PURA, started with the aim of providing urban facilities and services in rural areas, has been running on experimental basis for the last nine years. Now, it is likely to be shut down because of callousness shown by the private sectors towards the project.  

According to the sources, the government is being pressurised not to further expand the project. Though the Parliamentary Standing Committee has reprimanded the government for doing so, the Rural Development Ministry is seriously mulling to close the chapter.  

The PURA was started in 2003-04 on experimental basis which lasted till 2009-10. In 2010, the government recommended to amend the project and start it on the basis of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP).

In the amended scheme, the private sectors were given preference. The government granted Rs 150 crore for the amended scheme for the year 2010-11 and 2011-12.  

These efforts went into vain when private sectors didn’t show interest in the projects. Private companies were invited to develop the group of gram panchayats. The government received nearly 100 applications out of which nearly 45 firms were found to be eligible. Ultimately, only six of them were able to produce the detailed report.

More surprisingly, the inter-ministerial committee gave approval to two companies. Both the companies have been given responsibility of developing panchayats in Kerala. Irked over the poor performance of firms, the government has finally decided to close the scheme at any point of time.

Surendra Pratap Singh/JPN

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