Soon, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation will be left only with maintenance work of roads, buildings and green belts as all the key functions currently being handled by it will be transferred to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), formed to implement the Smart City Project, once it becomes operational. And the process of which has already been initiated.
The civic body and the Chandigarh administration has got the Chandigarh Smart City Limited registered and has also opened a bank account in the name of the company. The authorities have also written to the Ministry of Urban Development for release of funds. In the first phase, the city would get Rs 200 crore.
Important functions such as public health, sanitation, solid waste management and street lighting would be transferred to the SPV. And as per sources, in due course of time, other functions are also likely to be transferred to the newly formed company. However, the elected representatives of the civic body have expressed their displeasure over transfer of major works to the SPV.
“ This is totally wrong. In a way, the key functions have been taken from the political representatives and have been handed over to the administrative officers. What will the elected representative do then?” questioned Congress councillor Subhash Chawla, adding, “ MC Commissioner’s new office would be somewhere else that means, he wont be sitting here.”
Chandigarh Congress chief Pardeep Chhabra said that the Act was being by-passed and civic body would lose its sanctity.
“Either the company should take permission from the House that they may be authorised or this can’t be allowed since all these are functions of the civic body. They are bypassing the Act. By this, Corporation won’t have any sanctity when their major functions go to administrative control,” said Chhabra.
Clarifying the concerns raised by the councillors, Mayor Arun Sood said that the SPV will help in fixing the procedural delays which normally happen in case of projects. “SPV’s role would be planning, finances and implementing. MC will continue to assist them. With the help of SPV, MC will be able to execute project without any delays,” said Sood.
SPV, a public company, is a joint venture between the Chandigarh Administration and Municipal Corporation sharing equal equity of 50 per cent each. The primary role of the SPV will be to plan, appraise, approve, finance, implement, manage, operate, monitor and evaluate smart city solutions, both pan-city and area-wise. The chief executive officer of the SPV, would be Commissioner MC whose new office is being constructed near the bridge in Sector 17 Chandigarh.
The company would perform all the functions for the next 20 years. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs 6,200 crore, with Rs 250 crore for the pan-city proposal and Rs 5,950 crore for the area-based development.