Ludhiana Smart City project barely makes a dent in 3 years
Scheduled to be completed in 5 years, the smart city project in Ludhiana has barely made a dent despite entering into the fourth year of the venture. Selected among the first 20 proposed smart cities in the country in January 2016, Ludhiana is to become a smart city by 2020-21, but the progress made so far presents a different picture.
However, despite completing only two projects worth Rs 2.99 crore in the past three years, Ludhiana Smart City Limited (LSCL) is promising to change the perception of residents by next year with projects worth Rs 336.12 crores in its kitty. The target is to transform Ludhiana into a smart city in a time bound manner, but it remains to be seen if LSCL will live up to its promise.
The aim, initially, was to spend Rs 200 crore, including 50 per cent contribution of the state government, every year. LSCL has, however, spent only Rs 40 crore of the Rs 194 crore that it was granted. The designing of the projects, obtaining approvals at state level and the row over single-bid tenders are reported to be the reasons behind the delay.
MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and cabinet minister MLA (west) Bharat Bhushan Ashu have also slammed the consultant company in the past for its alleged poor performance. The project focuses mainly on areas under Area Based Development (ABD) but authorities have even failed to bring visible change even in these ABD areas including Ghumar mandi, Sarabha nagar, Malhar road and nearby areas.
The project has also failed to address major issues such as rain water accumulation across the city, pollution, outmoded condition of fire brigade etc. Officials, however, said it was not possible to address every issue pan city as per provisions of the smart city mission.
Residents have also been complaining that ABD areas selected are already posh and authorities should have picked lowlying or areas that need the development. The authorities responded to this saying that residents themselves selected the ABD areas via voting.
The pan city projects, including LED street lights project, Integrated Command and Control centre (ICCC), installation of static compactors etc are not yet completed. While the LED street light project is underway in some wards, only the building of ICCC has been made so far, with the system still not in place. Only the installation of solar panels on government buildings and construction of the ICCC building worth Rs 2.99 crores have been completed so far.