Kerala Smart City project: Yet to get off starting blocks
By Express News Service | Published: 14th March 2018 05:30 AM |
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Despite tall claims about Smart City, the Corporation is yet to make a headway in the most ambitious project the capital city has ever received. The much awaited project got delayed after the consultancy short listed to manage it ran into controversy. Wadia Techno Engineering Services Ltd, which bagged the project has been blacklisted for irregularities in its previous projects with Assam government and the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL). Though Smartcity Thiruvananthapuram Limited, the special purpose vehicle created called for implementing the project, has sought legal opinion on continuing with a black listed firm it has not yet received an official communication.
At present the Corporation is continuing with superficial projects since the board is yet to make a headway in appointing a consultant. As the process of finalising consultant is taking more time, officials at the Smart City design cell and engineers are preparing plans for implementation of smart bus stops, water kiosks and toilets. A total of 135 smart bus stops will be set up in 100 wards. The Corporation plans to involve government agencies such as Kerala Water Authority and KSEB to take up some of the minor works.
But the delay in implementing a pan city solution and area based development under the original plan could affect the funding for the time-bound projects, said the opposition councillors. Mayor V K Prasanth did not respond to the queries made by Express. “It has been over one year since we made it to the smart city list. Councillors and the general public have been kept in the dark about the project implementation so far. It is doubted the ruling council plans to divert funds as it had done for the revision projects,” said Parliamentary party leader of BJP V G Girikumar.
The city made it to the list of Smart Cities in the third round in June last year. The project involves an expenditure of over Rs 1,500 crore by 2021. The delay in finalising the consultancy would further set back its implementation. Smart City project gets Central assistance to the tune of Rs 194 crore as first instalment for the first two years of project implementation. “The board is likely to be convened soon to assess the situation,” said a senior officer of Corporation.