Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M.Venkaiah Naidu today stressed on the need for effective recovery of costs of utilities like water and power in urban areas.
Referring to the need for massive investments to convert the rapid urbanization into an opportunity, he said , 'to begin with at least O&M (Operation & Maintenance) costs need to be recovered by putting in place necessary mechanisms. This is needed to invite large scale private sector participation in urban sector. One certain way of doing it is to set up Regulatory Bodies for deciding on the prices of urban utilities.'
Addressing Consultative Workshop of Municipal Commissioners from five southern states and Puducherry at Hyderabad, he urged the municipal commissioners to rise to the task of effectively managing the growing urban challenges through effective governance and resource management.
The challenges in urban areas outlined by Naidu include: Ensuring 100% household water supply connections as against the present 50%, Ensuring normative water supply of 135 litres per capita per day as against the present 73 litres, 100% sewerage treatment as against the present 16%, Enhancing efficiency of solid waste collection from 23% to 100%, Achieving 80% segregation of waste at source as against the present 18%, Recycling of 80% of waste as against the current 10%, Reliable power supply, Improving physical and social infrastructure and urban governance and meeting the urban housing shortage etc.
Elaborating on the pace of urbanization in the country, Venkaiah Naidu suggested Development Authorities for each of the district headquarter towns for comprehensive long term planning for an area of 25 km. radius. He also stressed on the need for modification of building bye-laws at the level of urban local bodies to meet the growing aspirations of urban population.
The Minister laid special emphasis on ensuring accountability and transparency by improving urban governance through adoption of appropriate technologies. He noted that 'smart leadership' capable of taking right decisions at the level of urban local bodies is the need of the hour.
About 70 municipal commissioners from the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana besides the Union Territory of Puducherry participated in the Workshop.