With 18 months to go, completing Smart City projects an uphill task

Under the Smart City, the selected local body can devise projects worth ` 1,000 crore which should be implemented in five years.

Published: 17th August 2019 06:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2019 06:58 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI:  With the deadline for completing the Smart City Mission projects, which were allotted under the 100 Smart City programme of the Centre, going to end in 2020, it will be an uphill task for the Cochin Smart City Mission Ltd (CSML) and Kochi Corporation to complete the entire work within this time. 
The project was declared by the NDA Government in 2015 and Kochi was included in the first set of cities under the project announced in January 2016. The project deadline is five years, which means Kochi’s deadline will end by January 2021.

Under the Smart City, the selected local body can devise projects worth ` 1,000 crore which should be implemented in five years. Of the total cost, the Centre will give 50 per cent, that is `500 crore. The rest should be pumped in by the respective local body and state government.

In Kochi, though the Corporation Council led by then Mayor Tony Chammany selected West Kochi and Central zone for the Smart City Mission projects and prepared a project report in 2016, the local body elections which followed delayed the implementation. After much delay, the SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) was formed in 2017 end and the tenders for the projects were floated in January 2018.

Opposition’s charges
In the recent council meeting, opposition councillors raised concerns over the delay in implementing the projects. “The government should intervene on the issue. Projects worth `1,697 crore have to be implemented in the Smart City areas. However, the CSML has initiated only 14 projects worth `310 crore so far,” said LDF parliamentary party leader of Kochi Corporation V P Chandran.

The opposition councillors also pointed out some projects which are neglected by the CSML, including 
the `100-crore multi-level parking project at Kacherippady.Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor T J Vinodh said the progress of the Smart ity projects should be reviewed. “A review meeting should be convened twice a month to assess the progress. The situation where there is no one to monitor needs changing,” he said.

Subcommittee to review projects
Mayor Soumini Jain said the corporation will urge the Chief Minister to convene a review meeting to assess the project progress. A subcommittee will also be formed to review the projects. The chairpersons of Standing Committees and division councillors of the Smart City Mission areas will be the members of the committee.

Smart City Mission Project
Total projects for West Kochi and Central Kochi: 44
Projects for which DPR 
has been prepared: 34
Projects for which tender process completed: 14
Works started: 11


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