KOCHI: With the Cochin Smart Mission Ltd (CSML) failing to implement the Rs 2,075-crore projects announced under the Smart Cities Mission in the city, Minister for Local Self-Government AC Moideen has directed the authorities to expedite the implementation of projects by advancing the tender processes.
Smart Cities Mission, is an urban renewal programme with an aim to develop 100 cities across the country making them citizen-friendly and sustainable. The 15-year Mission began in 2005. Cochin Smart Mission Ltd is the special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up to execute plans specific to the city.
As per the timeline prepared by the CSML, awarding of projects will begin by the end of this year. Even if it manages to stick to this deadline, Kochi will fail to utilise funds set aside under the programme as the Mission will come to an end on March, 2020.It is learnt that the minister convened the review meeting at Thiruvananthapuram the other day after he received several complaints regarding the delay in implementing the project.
“The minister directed CSML authorities to re-work the timeline fixed for tendering and awarding of the projects. As per the plan, most of the projects will be initiated for the execution stage only by next year. As per the directive of the minister, the CSML will prepare a new report and the project execution will be based on it,” said a senior officer who attended the meeting.
Even though Kochi was among the first 20 cities selected under Centre’s Smart Cities Mission, CSML has not implemented a single project in the city. In fact, the SPV could only spend five per cent of the total grant of Rs 401.77 crore. The Centre has already provided Rs 196 crore for implementing the projects in Kochi.
“At a time when Thiruvananthapuram city has started implementing several projects under the Mission, Kochi has only began the construction of a few roads. There have been complains about lack of clarity in some of the projects awarded earlier. The minister has directed CSML to re-tender such projects like Smart Street Sweeping and Sewer Collection System for Fort Kochi,” the officer said.