A picture speaks a thousand words. The banner of the Smart City project for the City of Gates Aurangabad, has for representation purpose, India Gate of Delhi on it. From this one picture from War room for Smart City Project alone we can judge the seriousness of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation and the Project Management Consultancy (PMC) towards making the city smart and implementing the projects sanctioned under the scheme.
After missing the bus of JNNURM, the city desperately needed funds for its urban renewal projects. The opportunity came in the form of Smart city scheme announced by the new government at the centre.
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.
After being included in the Smart City Scheme, Rs 283 cr budget was allocated for implementation of various projects. The AMC received the first installment of development funds but sat on them for one and half years, doing nothing!
This lethargic attitude continues as is evident from its defunct website (on smart city), long delays in decision making, poor planning and tardy implementation.
AMC had decided to select the project logo and tag line through open competition and also invited suggestions from the public. No one knows the results of these endeavours and the project is still without a logo and a tag line.
The newly elected Mayor upon assuming office had given assurance of taking stock of the situation through weekly reviews. There is no information in public domain that suggest that such a review has ever taken place.
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.