COIMBATORE:A meeting convened by the Corporation to get suggestions for the Coimbatore Smart City Project from the public and line departments on Wednesday turned into a virtual grievance day meeting.
Several members of the public started complaining about the lack of civic amenities in their wards and demanded that the Corporation set these right.
Only participants from political parties and consumer organisations gave useful suggestions for the Smart City project.
The Corporation has appointed ICRA Management Consulting Services Limited to prepare the plan. The proposal would be submitted to the Union government before December 15.
Speaking at the meeting, Corporation Commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan requested the public and line-department representatives to give their ideas to draw up the plan.
“Coimbatore is one of the 98 cities in the country selected under the project. We have completed the first stage and are in the second stage. We can adopt new methods like trenchless technology to implement the project. The plan will be prepared under three categories: greenfield, redevelopment and retrofitting. Frequent meetings will be conducted to get suggestions from the public and the line departments,” he said.
Collector Archana Patnaik accepted a suggestion from a BSNL representatives on providing a duct line (separate underground line) for cell-phone and internet companies as they face much hardship due to the frequent digging of roads by the local body.
The Collector also requested the Commissioner to provide updates on the Corporation’s schemes so that all concerned become aware of them.
Anand Madhavan of ICRA said the Union government would provide `50,000 crore to the cities selected under the project over the next five years. Development works would be taken up with the participation of state governments and local bodies.
Smart City projects will focus on city infrastructure, economic mobility and open space. Other areas of focus include energy, water, environment, citizen engagement, and IT-led service delivery, he said.
P V Gopal, president, Peelamedu Consumer Voice, suggested that the civic body should include solutions to the increasing traffic congestion in the city in the project.
“Though the Corporation has proposed to construct a high-level bridge between Coimbatore International Airport and Lakshmi Mills Junction, there has been no development in the matter,” he said.
MDMK State youth wing secretary V Eswaran suggested that instead of investing money in many projects, the Corporation should focus on one project like effective solid waste management.
Several participants wanted the Corporation to provide more garbage bins in streets so that people can avoid littering, which leads to unhygienic conditions.
Irrelevant Pleas Drown Out Useful Suggestions
Most officials of line departments who attended a meeting on preparing a plan for the Coimbatore Smart City Project on Wednesday remained silent even as members of the public took a lot of the time to air unrelated grievances.
This was despite District Collector Archana Patnaik asking them for suggestions so that the proposal could be finalised.
Only officials from the police, TANGEDCO and BSNL provided inputs for the Smart City plan. Officials of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board, PWD, Agricultural Engineering Department, TNSTC and Regional Transport Office just sat at the meeting like spectators.
Deputy Commissioner (Traffic) T K Rajasekaran said roads of the Corporation should be improved as there is traffic congestion and accidents on them during the rainy season.
“We analysed the accidents and found that in the last five years, they were high only on the roads under the Corporation. In five months, there has been an increase of about 1.5 lakh vehicles. However, infrastructure has not been upgraded to support this increase. We have to use the existing roads,” he said.
“Roads should be interlinked and a ring road laid so that vehicles all need not enter the city roads. This will prevent traffic congestion. Stagnation of water in places like Lanka Corner and Avinashi Flyover underpasses should be prevented. When it rains, vehicles can move only at a snail’s pace in such areas,” he pointed out.
Peelamedu Consumer Voice president P V Gopal said work on interlinking Tiruchy, Mettupalayam and Avinashi roads should be immediately taken up.
S Mohamed Rafi of the Aam Admi Party suggested subways at Hopes College Junction, Saibaba Colony, Government Hospital, Town Hall and Gandhipuram to connect bus stands so that people do not have to take the risk of crossing busy roads.