Tamil Nadu seeks central funds for various projects

New Delhi : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam Friday sought the central government’s approval for projects like desalination plants, inter-linking of rivers and also declare 10 cities in the state to be developed as smart cities.

Speaking at the finance minister’s conference held here, Panneerselvam, who also holds the finance portfolio, requested the central government to provide adequate financial support as promised earlier for the 150 million litre per day (MLD) desalination plant involving an outlay of Rs.1,371.86 crore under the new Urban Renewal Mission (URM).

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He also hoped the central government rolls out phase II of the URM soon with sufficient funding in the ensuing union budget and release the withheld amount of 10 percent for the phase I.

Referring to the intra-state linking of rivers, Panneerselvam said: “Considerable progress has already been made in linking the Thamirabarani-Nambiyar rivers with state funds, as central funds were not forthcoming.”

“The project for linking Cauvery, Vaigai and Gundar rivers at a cost of Rs.5,166 crore is pending for the central government’s approval. We look forward to its inclusion in the 2015-2016 union budget,” he said.

He said growing cities like Salem, Tiruchirappalli, Tuticorin, Cuddalore and Erode have the right credentials for consideration as smart cities apart from Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai.

“At least 10 cities in Tamil Nadu are fully eligible to be declared as smart cities,” he added.

Panneerselvam suggested that union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to come out with a comprehensive urban housing programme in the coming budget with adequate funding.