Inclusion of Hubli-Dharwad - JNNURM Project sign now

Hon. President Sri.APJ Abdul Kalam, Hon. Prime Minister Sri.Manmohan Signh, Hon. Union Minister Sri.S.Jaipal Reddy, Hon. Chief Minister of Karnataka Sri.H.D.Kumaaraswamy,

Subject: Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission Requisition to include Hubli-Dharwad twin cities regarding.

We, the natives of Hubli-Dharwad from across the world, would like to bring the following details about the strong need for including Hubli-Dharwad on the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

The central government announced a national urban renewal plan in December, 2005 (http://pmindia.nic.in/speech/content.asp?id=235). The goals of the plan were to provide funding to approximately 60 tier I, II and III cities across the nation. The central government has recognized that the city governments are politically and financially weak and this has led to infrastructure bottlenecks and inadequacies. The plan seeks to assist the selected cities to improve such basic facilities as drainage, waste disposal, congestion reduction, transportation and water resource management. The details of the plan are available at - http://urbanindia.nic.in/moud/programme/ud/jnnurm
/guidelines_jnnurm.pdf.

According to available news reports, Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation was supposed to have been included in the plan based upon the recommendations made by the former Chief Minister Mr. Dharam Singh and the then Urban and Municipal Administration minister Mr. S.R. Morey. However, the Principal Secretary of the department of urban development had already sent a proposal to the central government stating that Hubli-Dharwad does not meet the criteria, and instead, Mysore was included in the list along with Bangalore. Further efforts to change the list to include Hubli-Dharwad seem to have gone nowhere.

We highly appreciate and respect the recommendations of Hon. Chief Minister, Sri. Kumaaraswamy to your ministry, to include the twin cities under the said project. We express our strong concern about the non-commitment from your ministry to this effect. The Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation now stands to loose a whopping Rs.500 crores in development funds over the next 7 years, for no fault!!

In the recently submitted McKinsey report on improving IT / ITeS industry within the state of Karnataka, Hubli-Dharwad has been identified to be the next destination for the IT / ITeS industry developments within Karnataka, based on the educated manpower and other inherent qualities of this region. Government of Karnataka intends to increase its share of exports in the IT / ITeS industry by way of increasing the output from this sector. This intention is clearly visible in developing and tapping the potentials of tier II cities, Mangalore and Mysore. Although the present plan by government in this direction includes the twin cities, Hubli-Dharwad along with Gulbarga, there is a strong dearth of infrastructure facility for the IT / ITeS industry to establish its presence in the twin cities region. If the plans of government of Karnataka to include Hubli-Dharwad for enhancing its share of the IT exports, and hence contribute to the overall economy of the country, need a practical approach, the infrastructure of twin cities needs a drastic improvement. For the twin cities to attract the investments from IT / ITeS industry, the infrastructure has to get a facelift, that includes upgradation of airport facilities, state-of-the-art infrastructure. The very fact that Hubli-Dharwad being the second largest city within Karnataka and portraying an insignificant growth in the IT sector, when the nation is riding the full bloom of the IT / ITeS industry, is a staunch reflection of the dire necessity of its inclusion in the JNNURM project.

As recently as March 6th, 2006, Central Government has granted permission for three exclusive townships for Bangalore and Mysore, as per the request by the government of Karnataka, towards meeting the demands of IT industry. Please refer to the news article @: http://infotech.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1433073.cms on the internet for more information. But, the proposed townships do not encompass Hubli-Dharwad region.

This demonstrates yet another case of injustice carried out by the Karnataka state's bureaucracy which seems to have defied the political leadership to favor one city over the other. Our goal is not to stop the growth of any city in our state at the expense of another. Successive governments in Karnataka have neglected regions outside Bangalore-Mysore belt. However, putting in context the neglect and injustice meted out to Northern Karnataka in general, it is appropriate for our leaders from the region to step up efforts to secure funds for the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad under the JNNURM plan. We also recognize that just developing Hubli-Dharwad city does not equate to the development of the entire region. JNNURM has a specific set of requirements and the plan wants to keep the total number of cities funded to around 60. We certainly do not wish to turn this into a rivalry and ill-will between the cities in Karnataka.

The Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation has recently seen administrative reforms and has become more transparent under the commendable leadership of Honorable commissioner, Mr. P. Manivannan. Thanks to Honorable D.C., Mr.M.S.Srikar, district administration is actively participating in the overall development of the twin cities. The city corporation has also undertaken road improvements, sanitation, waste collection and disposal programs, elimination of unauthorized structures etc., that are aimed at improving the quality of life in the twin cities. A blueprint for future growth coupled with adequate funding from the central and/or state government can go a long way in ensuring improved quality of life and lessening the ill-will towards the state government which is often perceived as the source of the crippled development of the region.

We strongly resent the fact that Hubli-Dharwad twin cities have not been included in the list of cities identified for the implementation of JNNURM. We also strongly convey our frustration to the state government machinery, which is the root cause for the exclusion of twin cities from the JNNURM list. Unequivocally, we strongly demand that the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad be included to this list and provide the much needed funding to enhance the overall development under JNNURM project.

Thanking you in anticipation.

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Andrew CombsBy:
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Petition target:
Union Government of India, State Government of Karnataka

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