NEW DELHI: A rap from Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to have woken up the mandarins at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to the need for speeding up the work on the Smart City projects.
Concerned over the delay, Secretary, MoHUA, Durga Shankar Mishra, has made it clear to all the stakeholders to commence work on the projects that were launched following the announcement of the first batch of 20 Smart Cities in January 2016.
To fast-track the work, Mishra will hold a review meeting next month. The move follows a recent high-level meeting in which the Prime Minister had reportedly pulled up the ministry for the tardy progress in urban mission projects.
A letter issued by the secretary’s office on October 18 has asked all the authorities concerned (principal secretaries of states as well as the Centre, state mission directors and CEOs of the special purpose vehicle or SPV floated for each of the Smart City projects) to participate in the meeting that will be held on November 9. SPVs for 60 Smart Cities have been floated so far.
“The progress of implementation of impactful projects (smart roads, integrated smart solutions through centralised command and control centres, solar rooftop, smart water and city-specific projects) will be reviewed. There will be video presentation of works to track their progress,” said an official.
A senior ministry official said Mishra had decided to hold a review meeting of the Smart City projects every month. According to officials, the main concern is the timely implementation of the projects which are capital intensive. Mishra has urged the states and Union Territories to ensure that by November, work begins on 261 impactful projects in 60 Smart Cities that were announced during January-September 2016. These identified projects account for an investment of Rs 31,112 crore.
MoHUA is closely monitoring the progress of 261 impactful projects and another 370 PPP projects with an investment of about Rs 32,000 cr.ore The Smart City Mission was launched by the Modi government in June 2015, but the project is still in the stage of planning. According to ministry sources, setting up of SPVs to implement the works took a long time.
With a view to measure the quality and impact of the Smart City projects under implementation, the ministry had earlier announced ‘India Smart Cities Awards Contest 2017’, with a total prize money of over Rs 50 lakh.