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TN urged to focus on infrastructure projects

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CHENNAI, April 17

THE Union Minister of State for Urban Development, Mr Pon Radhakrishnan, has urged the State Government to focus more on large infrastructure projects, which would have a significant impact on the State.

At press conference here today, Mr Radhakrishnan, who had met the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms Jayalalithaa, earlier in the day, said that he suggested that the State Government look at major projects, which, the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) was willing to fund. Such projects would have a significant impact on the development, he said.

The Tamil Nadu Government could emulate Karnataka's plans which envisage over Rs 1,000 crore for infrastructure project in Bangalore, he said. HUDCO is also interested in enhancing its private sector funding portfolio.

Its current funding was around Rs 102.60 crore for housing and real estate, education sector and information technology.

HUDCO has also reduced the interest on loans to the State Government with effect from January. The reduction represents an annual savings of Rs 52.37 crore on interest, annually.

The interest has been reduced to 10 - 10.75 per cent against the earlier levels of 8 - 16.5 per cent.

HUDCO has identified the potential sanction to Tamil Nadu at Rs 1,500 crore for the current year with sanctions touching over Rs 1,200 crore.

During 2002-03, HUDCO disbursed Rs 1,071 crore to the State taking the overall disbursement to Rs 5,930 crore.

In the discussions with the State Government, the officials had focussed on infrastructure development in Chennai including slum clearance and alternate arrangements provided for slum dwellers, water supply to Chennai and irrigation projects. HUDCO was willing to fund such schemes, he said.

HUDCO was providing consultancy to the Central tourism ministry to develop Kanyakumari and Tiruvannamalai.

This was in addition to the ongoing programme to develop the Mahabalipuram project, planning for which was at an advanced stage.

HUDCO's loan assistance during 2002-03 would enable initiation of projects worth Rs 2,538 crore.

The sanctions cover the energy sector, a first time effort by HUDCO, roads, health, education, water supply, water resources management, coastal protection and housing.

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