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GPS for garbage trucks, traffic mobility, battery-operated buses: Why is Pune not logging on to its Smart City plan?

14 projects inaugurated by PM Modi are yet to take off; CM Fadnavis unhappy with progress of Smart City projects in the city; Only ₹64 crore spent while ₹323 crore lies unused

pune Updated: Nov 28, 2017 14:45 IST
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Smart City road work in progress near Parihar chowk, Aundh, on November 27, 2017.
Smart City road work in progress near Parihar chowk, Aundh, on November 27, 2017. (HT Photo)

Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched 14 projects under the Smart City mission in the city on June 25, 2016, most of the projects are yet to take off. Projects that the Smart City mission had initially announced, including the Common Mobility Card project, GPS in garbage carrying vehicles, pedestrian and cycle lanes in Aundh, traffic mobility plan, battery-operated buses and its mission to utilise maximum solar power, are yet to be completed even after one and half years of the project’s announcement.

Consequently, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also expressed his unhappiness over the poor progress of Smart City projects in the city and refused to attend the first anniversary celebrations of the event as there was little to show to the citizens.

While the Smart City initiative is the dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the irony is that no leader from BJP, including guardian minister Girish Bapat and member of parliament Anil Shirole, are taking any interest in it. It is only the civic administration which is pushing the project ahead.

Opposition party leader Chetan Tupe also criticised the Smart City project and said that most of the projects were going at snail’s pace. He also alleged that it was extremely unfair to spend extra money on one part of the city only.

Only ₹64-crore spent while ₹323 crore lies unused

As is the case with 90 Smart City projects in the country, the Pune Smart City project also figures as one where grants from the central and state governments have remained substantially unutilised .

The Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL) had received almost ₹387 crore funding and was only able to spent ₹64 crore till date for projects related to the Smart City mission.

Of the ₹387 crore funds received, funding from the Centre was to the tune of ₹195 crore and the state government’s contribution amounted to ₹92 crore. The Pune Municipal Corporation had also allotted ₹100 crore for the project.

The Pune Smart City Development Corporation has only issued work orders worth ₹208 crore till date.

Speaking to Hindustan times, Pune Smart City’s chief executive officer, Rajendra Jagtap, said that Pune has taken the lead amongst various projects and is ahead of other cities. Already the representatives of other cities have been visiting Pune to see the work going under the Smart City project. As reported by Hindustan Times, most of the 90 cities selected for the smart city programme have not spent the money given to them by the Narendra Modi-led government since the signature urban overhaul project was launched in June 2015.

India plans to have 100 smart cities by 2022 and the central government has released ₹9,824 crore since 2015-16

State governments are supposed to provide matching funds to complete the projects, which are meant to change the way urban Indian lives — from overhauling a city’s public transport system and providing uninterrupted power and water supply to internet connectivity, e-governance, modern healthcare and better education. But a major chunk of central funds is lying idle with state governments.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 14:17 IST