Residents of Dehradun feel that the Uttarakhand government’s move to garner one lakh votes in favour of Smart City is a race against time as the online poll will conclude on March 15.
Dehradun failed to make it to the top 20 cities shortlisted in January by the Union ministry of urban development (MoUD) for the first phase of the Smart City project. It is now to compete with 22 other ‘fast-track cities’.
The online poll on www.mygov.in (government of India’s portal) began on February 28. The government will modify its Smart City proposal accordingly and will have to submit a revised proposal by April 15.
Locals fear that the government’s online campaign may not succeed as it will only be running for a short duration.
“This (process of seeking public opinion) should have started long ago. And not every city resident is tech-savvy so the reach of the (online) survey may remain restricted,” said Bharat Sharma, project manager with Friends of The Doon Society, a Dehradun-based environmental organisation.
Dehradun’s Smart City proposal had garnered only 76 submissions on the www.mygov.in portal last time where it was posted for Doonites’ feedback for around 25 days, officials said.
The government had proposed building of a Smart City on approximately 350 acres of tea garden land on Doon’s outskirts.
Smart City nodal officer R Meenakshi Sundaram said that during the previous phase, the government held a door-to-door campaign wherein feedback was sought from around 70,000 people.
“But the Union ministry did not accept that and wanted us to hold the public consultation process completely online. That’s why we’re hosting the poll totally online now where the voting process would be transparent,” he said.
Sundaram said four teams are working on “war footing” to sensitise people about the feedback process. “To make up for the (poor) online response in the first phase, we’re taking it in a very big way this time by dedicating huge manpower and logistics for the purpose,” said Sundaram, who is also the vice-chairman of Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority.
Live talk show
Smart City nodal officer R Meenakshi Sundaram held a live talk show on Wednesday to connect with citizens and apprise them about aspects of Smart City proposal. He said citizens can choose from any of the six options that will be provided in the opinion poll -- retrofitting of any of the four zones in which the city has been divided, creation of a Greenfield (or satellite) city on tea garden along with retrofitting of Zone 4 and also a redevelopment option along with a smart suggestion.