Smart City Mission projects: Stakeholders clueless as deadline approaches

Tenders for projects worth H600 cr floated, but no updates on progress; corporation councillors engage in blame game

Published: 12th October 2019 06:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th October 2019 06:54 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Though the deadline for completing Cochin Smart City Mission projects is fast approaching, stakeholders including Kochi corporation are still groping in the dark. Though tenders for various projects worth Rs 600 crore were floated, most of the stakeholders are clueless on the updates regarding project implementation.

The projects slowed down further after Alkesh Kumar Sharma replaced Mohammed Haneesh as the managing director of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd last month. The officer is also the managing director of Cochin Smart City Mission Ltd (CSML), the special purpose vehicle (SPV) which manages the mission projects.
Meanwhile, the opposition in Kochi corporation said the civic body, which is one of the major stakeholders of the project, is unaware of the happenings. “It was following our protests against the delay that the mayor convened a meeting of the council in which the officers from CSML shared the details of the projects. However, no further updates were provided to us on project proposals. Not only CSML, but projects under other centre-funded programmes like AMRUT are yet to be implemented in Kochi. This will lead to a situation where all funds will get lapsed,” said Kochi corporation LDF parliamentary party secretary V P Chandran.

The Smart City Mission project was announced by the NDA government in 2015 and the deadline for completing the projects under it is March 2020. Kochi was one of the cities on the primary list. Under the plan, projects worth `1,000 crore can be implemented in the project area for which 50 per cent of the total funds will be provided by the centre.

“We all know that it is an area-based development plan. West Kochi and Central Kochi are selected for project implementation. There is a lack of coordination among various stakeholders like CSML, Kochi corporation, government departments and utility agencies,” said Chandran.

Admitting that there is a delay in the implementation, Kochi Mayor Soumini Jain said the corporation has already submitted a request before CSML for the induction of two more independent members in the director board of the SPV.

“In the 13-member board, only two representatives are from the Kochi corporation. We have requested the inclusion of two more representatives. However, that request is still pending,” said Soumini.

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