Projects Info | 28th Jan - 3rd February 2008

Interaction

We are gung ho about

Karnataka's
It will facilitate innovative projects
Infrastructure Policy

The Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) was set up in 1993 to assist the urban agencies in the state in planning, financing and providing expertise to develop urban infrastructure. KUIDFC is the nodal agency for the externally aided projects and the centrally sponsored Megacity Scheme. Jawaid Akhtar, IAS, Managing Director, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) answered queries about his organisation through an e-mailed interview.

It has been over fourteen years since the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) was set up.

Can you briefly take us through the progress made by it since then as a development and financing body?

The KUIDFC, since its inception, has been a key player in planning, developing and implementing the urban infrastructure projects in the state.

So far, KUIDFC has structured five Externally Assisted Projects, three assisted by ADB and two by the World Bank. Through TA studies, we have been facilitating the state government in evolving state policies in urban management and carrying out reforms. We are serving as the State Level Nodal Agency (SLNA) under JN NURM. We have added a new dimension to infrastructure financing by trying out innovative Municipal Pooled Finance modal and have introduced PSP in the management of water distribution network in the municipal context for the first time in the country. We have also been focusing on newer areas in urban management like energy efficiency, carbon trading etc

As MD what can you talk of KUIDFC's agenda and priorities as far as Karnataka , Bangalore and other cities are concerned?

Our agenda for the future includes conceptualisation of projects and creative initiatives in urban sector, expanding resource base for financing infrastructure projects, bringing in new technologies, processes and practices in urban management to evolve an efficient urban governance framework and service delivery models for the ULBs. Our immediate priority is to roll out ADB assisted NKUSIP, aimed at reducing regional imbalance in Karnataka , and pushing implementation of the World Bank assisted KMRP as well as the reforms associated with these projects. Our priority is also to prepare a comprehensive Water Sector Strategy to hasten reforms.

KUIDFC's role, as is known, is to assist urban agencies in the state in planning, financing and providing engineering expertise to develop urban infrastructure. Can you talk of the major organisations and projects supported by KUIDFC and their current status? The KUIDFC has structured various EAPs as well as the Greater Bangalore Water and Sanitation Project. We have prepared CDP for Bangalore city under JNNURM. We are also preparing the Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan (CTTP) for Bangalore. This CTTP would be a detailed report and would be the first of its kind.

What are the challenges faced by KUIDFC on a day-to-day basis?

The main challenges faced by KUIDFC include preparation of good project plans and timely implementation of the projects. Implementation of reforms is an important and cumbersome work requiring capacity building in civic agencies. At the Finance side, ensuring that the ULBs pay their contribution in time for implementation of the project and also keep repaying the loans is a major challenge. Now that the infrastructure industry is booming, mobilisation of technical personnel is also a major challenge.

Can you tell us about your organisation's performance?
During the last one year, we have negotiated and got approved the ADB assisted North Karnataka Urban Sector Improvement Programme (NKUSIP), under which integrated development will be taken up in 25 important north Karnataka towns. This is also the period in which continuous water supply schemes in Hubli-Dhawar, Belgaum and Gulbarga was operationalise. During this period, the City Development Plans for Bangalore and Mysore were prepared and projects worth more than Rs.1600 crore were approved in respect of these two cities.

KUIDFC has used ICT applications in a remarkable way.
Can you tell us how your organisation was transformed into a digital workplace?

With more projects coming our way, we became a multifold interactive agency dealing with multilateral and other external entities. With this increase in our role, it was imperative for us to provide a cutting edge technology to project teams. The transformation is happening through e-Governance initiatives with a long term IT strategy, choosing right platform/premise for automation of core business processes like finance, accounting, project management, document management etc.

Your partnership with Sobis and IBM has made KUIDFC an 'On Demand' enterprise. Have other development bodies been inspired by your success? Some of the organisations which got inspired include - SIDCUL - State Industrial Development Corporation, Uttaranchal, Railway Wheel and Axle Plant, Yelahanka, Bangalore, South Western Railway, Divisional Office, Bangalore, and Ceylanco, a leading Private Sector Life Insurance Agency in Srilanka.

What are the important projects KUIDFC will be undertaking in the future?

What are the specific areas of urban development that KUIDFC can further contribute?

We are looking forward to commencing implementation of NKUSIP during 2007. We have made progress in conceptualising infrastructure projects for 146 towns in the state which are not covered under any other project implemented by us. We would be playing an important role in scaling up reform agenda under KMRP and getting more projects commenced under JNNURM.

The Karnataka government has announced its most recent infrastructure policy.

In what way has it contributed to the smooth running of agencies such as yours?

The new Infrastructure Policy will be of immense utility to the urban sector. It will, inter alia, facilitate commencement of innovative projects.


Key KUIFDC projects

Mega City Scheme
Bangalore is one of the major cities in the country besides Bombay, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad identified by the Government of India as a Mega City under the scheme. Under this scheme, the Central Government contributes 25 per cent of the project cost by way of grant and the State Government contributes its matching share of 25 per cent. The remaining 50 per cent has to be met out by the implementing agencies out of their own/internal resources or through Institutional Finance. The Mega City Projects envisages overall improvement in the quality of life of Bangaloreans on account of developed infrastructure facilities, environmental improvements, slum upgradation, easing of traffic congestion by constructing grade separators, pedestrian subways etc. Under this scheme, 63 projects at an estimated cost of Rs.1884 crore have been taken up, of which 51 have already been completed. GoI has closed this scheme from the FY 2005-06.

Greater Bangalore Water and Sanitation Project (GBWASP)
This project aims at providing Water Supply and Sewerage facilities to eight ULBs around Bangalore (now part of BBMP). The water supply project is being financed under an innovative Pooled Finance concept under which Rs.100 crore, has been raised through Tax Free Pooled Municipal Bonds from the open market without government guarantee. An element of Beneficiary Capital Contribution has been introduced in funding the project cost. The sewerage part of the project is being funded under the WB assisted KMRP. Projects under JNNURM Government of India has introduced Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Commission (JNNURM) with a view to encourage cities to initiate steps to bring about improvement in the existing service levels in a financially sustainable manner. The Mission comprises two sub-missions namely the Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) and the Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP). The thrust areas include basic infrastructure components like water supply, sewerage and sanitation, solid waste management, storm water drainage system, road net work, urban transport etc. The Mission also focuses on integrated Development of Slums and provisions of basic Services to the Urban Poor. The Mission requires the State Governments and cities seeking assistance to undertake State Level and Municipal Level reforms. Several consultative meetings with the stakeholders, NGOs and citizens have been held at different levels to seek the views/suggestions on the Vision/Mission statements to be included in the CDP. The City Development Plans (CDPs) for Bangalore and Mysore have been prepared and approved by competent authorities. Memoranda of Agreement for these two cities have been signed by the GoI, GoK & BBMP and Mysore City Corporation.

Karnataka Urban Development and Coastal Environmental Management Project (KUDCEMP)

The Project will support the Government's priority investment in the urban sector, based on an urban sector development strategy that focuses on improving the welfare of the urban poor and the devolution of municipal management responsibility from states to urban local bodies. This integrated urban development project will help meet basic human needs by developing urban services for water supply and sanitation, solid waste and wastewater management, and slum and environmental improvements. The Project will also support street improvements and traffic management, and strengthen other municipal services required to improve the quality of life in urban areas. The Project will provide assistance in capacity building and community participation at the state and local levels and in Project implementation

Karnataka Urban Water Sector Improvement Project (KUWASIP)

This is a project for reforms & service improvements through Private Sector Participation (PSP) in the water sector in Karnataka. The project mainly seeks to implement the strategy enunciated in the Urban Drinking Water & Sanitation Policy of GoK. It will be implemented in phases. GoK and World Bank have approved the first phase. The three towns selected for investments in the first phase are Belgaum, Gulbarga & Hubli-Dharwad.

Proposed projects
o ADB assisted North Karnataka Urban Sector Investment Programme (NKUSIP)
o World Bank assisted Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project (KMRP)


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