NEW DELHI: Even after five years of its launch, hundreds of projects under the Smart City Mission have not been completed. Only 1,119 of the 1,794 projects (63%) in the first phase of the mission are completed. Moreover, only Rs 18,408 crore have been spent of the total estimated budget of Rs 57,124 crore. The Smart Cities are expected to complete their projects within five years from the date of selection. The government had selected 20 cities to be developed into smart cities in January 2016 — Bhubaneswar, Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Jabalpur (MP), Visakhapatnam, Sholapur, Davangere (Karnataka), Indore, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Coimbatore, Kakinada (Andhra), Belagavi (Karnataka), Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai, Ludhiana and Bhopal.
As per government data (till June 30), 548 projects worth Rs 26,966 crore spread in these 20 cities are in ‘work order’ stage and 127 projects worth Rs 11,750 crore are in ‘tender’ stage. A look at city-wise data discloses Bhubaneswar recorded completion of only 15 projects worth Rs 867 crore, while 25 projects worth Rs 2,331 crore are in work order stage. Tender has been issued in 28 projects worth Rs 3,539 crore. The city was selected for the urban mission in January 2016.
Chennai smart city has completed 37 projects of Rs 600 crore, while 44 projects of Rs 918 crore are in work order stage. Tender has been issued for 45 projects of Rs 960 crore. An official said Covid-19, lockdowns and other unprecedented situations have led to temporary interruptions in the execution of Smart City works across the country. However, most of them have resumed work and are trying to make up for the time lost.
The Ministry of Urban Affairs regularly interacts with the states and Smart Cities through video conferences, review meetings, field visits and regional workshops to assess their performance and to suggest improvements.
Smart City Mission is a transformational mission aimed at a paradigm shift in the practice of urban development. The government launched it in June, 2015, for development of 100 cities. Selection of cities was done through four rounds of screening from January, 2016 to June, 2018. According to the mission document, purpose of the Smart Cities Mission is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology, especially technology that leads to smart outcomes.