Chief minister Jagadish Shettar has made a strong pitch for special grants from the Centre to enhance infrastructure facilities in Bangalore.
Participating in the National Development Council meeting chaired by prime minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi on Thursday, the chief minister, in his written speech, said, “Bangalore is the IT capital of India. The city has also evolved into an important centre for biotech firms. An estimated 400 research and development centres, both in the public and private sectors, function in and around Bangalore. The city has evolved into a knowledge hub with increasing potential for employment and is contributing substantially to the country’s exports and economy. The city is facing a severe deficit of infrastructure, resulting in major constraint on the export potential.”
Demanding liberal grants from the Union government to improve the city’s infrastructure, he said the required investments are beyond the sustaining capacity of the civic agencies and the state. The viability of the public-private partnership model is often found inadequate for large urban projects. “In this background, I urge the central government to consider special grants to enhance the urban infrastructure facilities in Bangalore,” Shettar said.
Citing the problem of commuting in Bangalore, the chief minister said the commuter rail system for Bangalore has been planned along the corridors of Bangalore-Tumkur, Bangalore-Chikkaballapur, Bangalore-Doddaballapur, Bangalore-Mandya and Bangalore-Bangarpet. Similarly, the bus rapid transit system is also being implemented in Bangalore and Hubli-Dharwad. Shettar urged central assistance for the projects.
Reiterating the state’s commitment to implement the RTE Act in its true spirit, Shettar wanted the Centre to enhance its financial support for elementary education, with the Centre bearing 75% of the expenditure for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. He also advocated the need for introducing the mid-day meal programme at the secondary-school level.
Thanking the Centre for bringing an amendment to Article 371 of the Constitution to accord special status for the backward Hyderabad-Karnataka region, the chief minister urged the prime minister to establish an Indian Institute of Technology in north Karnataka, preferably in Raichur district, with at least 50% central assistance to be provided under the special status granted to Hyderabad-Karnataka region as per Article 371, and the rest in the PPP mode with participation of corporate giants like Infosys and Wipro.
“Karnataka has been nurturing a dream of a world-class university in Mysore and a central university in Bangalore which can be turned into a reality with central assistance to the extent of 100%. The state government would be pleased to provide the land and other infrastructure at both the places,” he said.