IN AN embarrassment, Chandigarh was ranked 67th, scoring just 28.26 marks in the “execution of smart city projects” in the smart city rankings released by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on February 6.
Newly appointed UT Adviser Manoj Parida admitted to Newsline that “there was an undue delay in executing the works of smart city”.
Nagpur bagged the first rank out of 100 smart cities across India, securing 360.21 marks, followed by Bhopal with 329.32 marks. Last year, Surat had emerged as India’s No. 1 smart city with the largest number of projects implemented and completed under the Smart City Mission. In the list of rankings published on February 6, the city is near the bottom at the 67th position.
The ranks are based on the proportion of total smart city projects under progress and completed for a city. The more the proportion of total cost of project under progress and completed, the higher is the rank.
Talking to Newsline, UT Adviser said, “First of all, there has been an undue delay in projects. I don’t blame my predecessors but yes, there was a delay. I joined on December 26 and on December 31, I convened a meeting and projects worth Rs 1,000 crore were passed and tenders have been floated. So they will be expedited now.”
Asked about any specific reason for the delay, Parida added, “No I think because municipal authorities and consultants were trying to design in a perfect way that must be the reason.”
In all these five years, Chandigarh smart city just constructed a smart city office in Sector 17 at a whopping cost of Rs 3.37 crore while a subway connecting the Rose Garden to Sector 17 is under construction. All other projects such as those of 24X7 water supply, intelligent traffic management system, underground wiring, revitalisation of Sector 17, including urban park, are pending.
The Centre had launched the Smart Cities Mission on June 25, 2015. The objective was to promote sustainable and inclusive cities.
Some of the core infrastructure elements in a smart city include adequate water supply, assured electricity supply, sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing, especially for the poor, robust IT connectivity and digitisation and good governance.
In January 2016, based on the All India Competition, 20 smart cities were selected in Round 1. As many as 13 more smart cities were selected in May 2016 in fast track round and Chandigarh was selected under smart cities in May 2016 as one of the 13 Fast Track Winning Cities. Projects under the Smart City Mission worth Rs 6,100 crore were proposed for Chandigarh.
Chandigarh smart city proposals included potable water, waste water, power, solid waste management, urban design and retrofit development, transportation, Sector 43 sub-city centre, city surveillance, intelligent transport and e-governance applications.
“Let’s hope Chandigarh Smart Chandigarh Smart City Limited (CSCL) soon makes up for the lost time under the new Adviser,” said Vinod Vashisht, president of the Government Houses Residents Welfare Society (GHRWS), Sector 22.