Smart city: Chandigarh among 20 worst performers

Placed in bottom 20 group among 100 smart cities has been paired with top performer Ahmedabad to benefit from its experience
Published on Feb 13, 2020 01:03 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By

Chandigarh, which boasts to be the Independent India’s first planned city, has been grouped among the 20 worst performers out of 100 cities that are being developed as smart cities in India.

Municipal commissioner KK Yadav, who is also the chief executive officer of Chandigarh Smart City Limited (CSCL), said the Union housing and urban affairs ministry has ranked all 100 cities and made two groups of 20 best and 20 worst performers. Cities from both groups have been paired together to help the laggards perform better in future.

Though Chandigarh’s exact rank has not been made available, it finds place along with Amritsar and Dharamshala in the bottom 20. Best performers include Nagpur, Bhopal, Surat, Indore, Visakhapatnam, Varanasi, Pune and Udaipur, with Ahmedabad at the top.

“We have been paired with Ahmedabad, which will help us improve our performance by sharing their experience in
execution of various smart city projects,” said Yadav.

‘Scrapping of 5,000-cr project cost us dear’

The ministry’s latest assessment of Chandigarh is even poorer than the smart city ranking released in 2018, when the city had secured 67th position.

Parameters used for the 2018 ranking and the present exercise are the same. Yadav said cities are evaluated on the basis of the total outlay of the smart city plan and executed projects.

On why Chandigarh continues to languish at the bottom, Yadav blamed it on scrapping of 5,000-crore project to develop Sector 43 as a major commercial hub.

In a major jolt to the UT administration’s smart city aspirations, CSCL in June last year had decided to scrap this ambitious project for which 71 acres had been earmarked adjoining the interstate bus terminus in Sector 43, as it turned out to be forest land. Developing Sector 43 alone involved an investment of 5,000 crore, almost 75% of the total amount planned to be spent on the smart city mission.

“We will never be able to improve our ranking till the time the 5,000-crore project is revived or we revise our smart city plan on the basis of available resources,” said Yadav. He said though the ranking might have been poor, the CSCL has started several major projects that will make a major difference in the lives of citizens.

“For instance, e-governance and 24X7 water supply projects will play a vital role in improving civic amenities,” he said, while adding that projects worth 200 crore have already started and works have been allotted in
300-crore projects.

1,000-crore projects are to be tendered soon, while 500-crore projects are at the planning stage,” he said.

Among major projects, removal of 5 lakh tonnes of accumulated waste has started at the Dadumajra dumping ground and the e-governance project — under which 28 key services will go online — is to be launched on April 1.

Local Congress president Pardeep Chhabra said the city has been “robbed of its pride” under the BJP rule. Slamming Kirron Kher, Chhabra said: “What has the BJP MP done for the city? Her lack of concern made it slip in the Swachh Survekshan and now in the smart city evaluation.”


    Vivek Gupta is a senior correspondent at Chandigarh. He covers Panchkula, besides writing on medical education.

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