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India selects nine private investors for rural projects

The Indian government has shortlisted nine private investors under a scheme to provide urban amenities in rural areas on a public-private partnership basis. Private investors are expected to bear 46% of the total cost of the projects.

Nine private companies have been shortlisted by the Indian government to bid for 15 projects under a programme to develop infrastructure in rural areas, according to the ministry of rural development.

The Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) is a scheme launched by the ministry of rural development to develop infrastructure and amenities alongside economic regeneration activities in villages through public-private partnership (PPP) agreements.

Projects under the scheme include: water and sewage links; solid waste management; construction and maintenance of streets; skill development; and economic activities, a press release from the ministry stated.

Private companies shortlisted under the scheme include: Jindal Steel & Power; IL&FS; Infrastructure Kerala; Marg; Buldana Urban Cooperative Society; A2Z Maintenance & Engineering Services; Megha Engineering Infrastructure; Srei Infrastructure Finance; and SVEC Constructions.

The total cost of the 15 projects is estimated at INR1,040 million (€16.8 million; $23.4 million) with 46 percent of the cost coming from private sector, as stated on the rural development ministry website.

In the first phase of the scheme, private companies, along with the ministry, are free to identify and select a set of villages and then partner with the local body to provide them with urban amenities. The companies are expected to provide and maintain services to these areas for a period of 10 years.

Currently the projects are proposed to be implemented in eight states across India: Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.