After being included in the Smart City Scheme, Rs 283 cr budget was allocated for implementation of various projects. As per data provided by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to a Parliamentary panel, so far only Rs 85 lakh has been spent on the mission by the AMC.
The AMC received the first installment of development funds but sat on them for one and half years. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development has expressed unhappiness over the slow pace of implementation of the mission. The panel has also pointed out that the “ground reality of work done under Smart Cities Mission is different than claimed by the Government with issues such as shortage of town planners with Urban Local Bodies and complaints about poor work from local MP Chandrakant Khaire putting a question mark on its implementation.
It has expressed its concern about the mission achieving its set targets when even after three years since its launch, most of the identified projects are still at the stage of preparation of detailed project report.
A Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry official said the Ministry is concerned about the “unsatisfactory” progress of the project in Aurangabad.
Aurangabad represented by its Municipal Corporation some how made it to the list of cities (in the third round) which would be made ‘Smart’ under a central government sponsored scheme. It seems, the AMC failed to put its best foot forward from the very beginning and showed no seriousness to get hold of funds which it so desperately needed.
The state government for better project implementation has appointed Principal Secretary of Industries as the Mentor of the project. But in a damming indictment of the AMC the retiring Mentor in a letter to UDD had written that AMC is incapable of implementing the Smart City Project.
There can be no excuse this time as both professional advice and easy finance are at the disposal of the AMC.
The citizens are at a loss
The old excuse of lack of funds don’t hold ground any more. What could be the reason for non-performance? Lethargy, lack of ambition or the reduced opportunities for skimming due to constant oversight from the higher-ups? We are still searching for an answer.