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India, Japan seek to enhance cooperation in urban development sector

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New Delhi (Oct 29, 2014): “With several sewerage projects under implementation and other efforts in progress, and if everything goes well, the quality of water in river Yamuna should be good for drinking by 2017” said, Shri Sinya Ejima, Chief Representative of JICA in India. He said so, while making a detailed presentation on ‘JICA’s Operations in Urban Sector in India’ at the meeting of India-Japan Joint Working Group on Urban Development.

JICA is currently associated with 16 projects relating to sewerage and water supply with a total loan commitment of Rs.28,660 cr in the states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Odisha, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa. Shri Ejima informed that current commitment of JICA’s assistance in urban sector including water and transport is of the order of Rs.2,40,000 cr.

JICA said, the challenges in water sector in India to be addressed are : Improvement in Operation & Maintenance (O&M) for efficient management of assets created, improvement in service delivery, improving financial position of urban local bodies, entrusting O&M to private sector through PPP model and promotion of re-use and recycling technologies to address water scarcity. Challenges in urban transport sector being: introduction of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), optimal mechanism for introduction of Metro rail systems, introduction of regional transit systems, monorails and Light Rail Transport and technical assistance for preparing comprehensive mobility plans.

Shri Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary(UD) and Shri Yoichi Nakagami, Director General, Policy Bureau, Government of Japan called for further scaling up of cooperation between the two countries in the context of India’s focus on urban development sector and recent successful visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Japan.

For the first time, state governments have been involved in the meetings of the Joint Working Group after 7 years of its inception. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Kerala have outlined various urban development initiatives in respective states highlighting opportunities for technical and financial cooperation.

Maharashtra Government said it has planned for 450 km network of metro systems, 241 ksm of sub-urban railway system, 1,660 km. of urban highway system, 77 km of highway corridors besides passenger water transport systems with the attendant infrastructure in urban areas by 2031 with an investment requirement of US $ 50.72 billion.