MADURAI: Surprised that the Madurai Corporation officials were unaware of the existence of an Advisory Board, let alone conducting a meeting to review the Smart City projects, the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DISHA) gave it one-month time to convene the meeting. The review meeting of DISHA committee was organised to assess the implementation of Central government schemes in Madurai on Monday. Even after four years of starting the Smart City projects, never once was an Advisory Board meeting convened.
According to official sources, the seven-hour meeting reportedly saw a heated debate over disparities in expenditure for Smart City projects as mentioned by the Corporation officials in the report. As many as 23 schemes were reviewed during the meeting. According to the committee members, the civic body said that they had not revised the Smart City project budget after the DISHA meeting in February. However, in the Monday report, the Corporation officials revised the budget for the redevelopment of the Periyar bus terminus from `159.7 crore to '167.4 crore. "This amounted to a difference of `8 crore for the one project. A total difference of `20 crore has been found in 12 such projects," said the committee members.
Similarly, contradicting the report given by the parliament, the civic body earlier stated that `161 crore was spent on implementation of Smart City projects, excluding `20-crore-worth conversion of LED lights in December. However, that amount was included in the Monday report in line with that of the parliament.
The committee also pointed out that while a 27-page report was submitted on the recent developments in the `120-crore-worth Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the corporation submitted only a six-page report for the `2,000-crore-worth Smart City Projects.
Further, the members also raised questions on an authorised venue to dump the sand dug from the construction sites of multilevel car parking near Meenakshi Amman temple, Periyar bus terminus project and the convention centre at Tamukkam ground. There were also allegations that the sand from the construction sites was sold for `12 crore.
Addressing the media after the meeting, MP Su Venkatesan said that the committee had urged the civic body to submit the report on sand dumping, LED light conversion and a detailed project report of all the Central government projects with immediate effect. Further, the advisory board will also be formed in a month-time, he added.
The Advisory Board comprises of the Collector as the Chairman, Madurai SP as the Vice Chairman and the MLAs and the Mayor as the board members. Presided by Madurai MP Su Venkatesan, MP Manickam Tagore (Virudhunagar) and O P Raveendranath Kumar (Theni), State Minister for Cooperation Sellur K Raju, and Collector TG Vinay took part in the meeting.