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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Constituency Watch: Smart plans on tardy lane, Ajmer battles woes

Residents say Ajmer lives with water crisis, bad roads; officials say elevated roads will be completed in two years and water project in one year.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2018 14:13 IST
Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain
Ajmer, Rajasthan
A girl collects drinking water from a tap in a village on the outskirts of Ajmer.
A girl collects drinking water from a tap in a village on the outskirts of Ajmer.(AFP File Photo)

Nearly two years after Ajmer was selected for the Centre’s smart city project, mandated works are moving at a slow pace, said many residents who counted two minor facilities -cycle sharing and open gymnasiums – that have been made available to the public.

Officials of the Ajmer Smart City Limited (ASCL), the nodal agency overseeing execution of the works, said 12 projects worth Rs 74.20 crore have been completed. “The total budgetary allocation under the smart city project is Rs 1841 crore. Major infrastructural works worth Rs

900.45 crore are in the pipeline and expected to be completed within the next two years,” said Anil Jain, superintendent engineer with ASCL.

Ajmer was included under the smart city project in September 2016. Major works under the project included ensuring daily water supply, building elevated roads to decongest traffic on Kacheri Road and Sardar Patel Marg that connect the northern and southern parts of the city, beautification of parks and Anasagar Lake, development of parking facilities, improving sanitation, and laying cycle tracks.

“Except for some hoardings around the city announcing Ajmer as a smart city, nothing has changed on the ground,” said Rajendra Sharma, a retired civil servant. “The condition of roads, cleanliness in the city, garbage disposal system, or name any other basic civic facilities, all are in the same condition as they were in preceding years.”

The smart city project was mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring about qualitative changes in urban living by ensuring uninterrupted power and water supply, improved infrastructure, better drainage and sewage system, and sanitation through scientific garbage disposal, among others.

Residents said Ajmer has got little respite from water crisis and continues to live with bad roads, traffic jams, parking woes, drainage problem, and poor public transport.

“People of the city were promised daily supply of drinking water and jam-free vehicular traffic, but things have not improved,” said Manju Mathur of Civil Lines area who works as a teacher at a private school. “Water is supplied in normal days with a gap of 36 to 48 hours, that too with no proper pressure. During summer, the crisis became acute and people got water with a gap of 72 to 96 hours,” she added.

Jain said the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has been executing a project worth Rs 103 crore, of which ASCL will share Rs 49.96 crore, to ensure water daily and expand the supply area.

“The work is stipulated to be completed in 12 months. After completion of the work, water supply will be adequate and equitable,” Jain said.

He said the project to build elevated roads has been finalised and entrusted to RSRDC (Rajasthan State Road Development Corporation).

“RSRDC has awarded the work to M/S Symphonia and Graphicus for Rs 220 crore. The project will be completed in two years.”

Ajmer Development Authority (ADA) chairman Shiv Shankar Heda said work was going on to lay a pathway around Ana Sagar Lake and install decorative lamps on city roads.

Ajmer Municipal Corporation (AMC) mayor Dharmendra Gehlot said door-to-door garbage collection has made the city one of the cleanest in the country.

Cycle sharing and open gymnasiums are not popular among youths. “The equipment installed at the open gymnasium at Patel Stadium are outdated and of low quality. You don’t feel like exercising there,” said Mahendra Singh, a basketball player. “Roads are too choked for traffic flow. How can you ride a cycle on such congested roads?” he asked.

Pooja Gupta, a homemaker, said, “Elevated roads proposed under the smarty city project on Kuchery Road and Sardar Patel Marg will definitely solve the problem of frequent traffic congestion. The government should take up drinking water supply on a priority. The pace of development works is not satisfactory; the administration needs to improve work culture.”

First Published: Oct 23, 2018 14:13 IST

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