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Only 1 smart city project completed in Chennai in 3 years, says Minister

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The Hindu       09.01.2018  

Only 1 smart city project completed in Chennai in 3 years, says Minister

Civic projects relating to sewerage and water supply have not been taken up under the Smart City Mission.File Photo  

Central government’s stringent norms causing delay, says S.P. Velumani

Work on the Smart City Mission has been delayed because of the unwillingness of the Central government to relax norms, said Local Administration Minister S.P. Velumani.

Speaking at the first review meeting of Smart City Mission and AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation), Mr. Velumani admitted that most of the Smart City Mission projects had not taken off in the past three years in Chennai and nine other cities in the State.

The Minister said just one project of the Smart City Mission had been completed in Chennai in the past three years. “The Central government has given nod for 173 projects under Smart City Mission, estimated at Rs. 13,425 crore. Out of the 173 projects sanctioned by the Centre, three have been completed in the State at Rs. 3.65 crore,” he said.

Claiming that the norms for taking up Smart City projects were very stringent, he said the State government had requested the Centre to relax norms to complete more civic projects such as sewerage and water supply. “We want to take up civic projects that the people need. But many projects do not qualify for funding under the Smart City Mission,” Mr. Velumani said.

Work on 14 projects estimated at Rs. 491.97 crore was under way in the State. “We will float bids for 37 projects estimated at Rs. 1,795.92 crore shortly. Preparation of detailed project reports for 119 smart schemes is under way at Rs. 11,134 crore,” he said.

The State government would speed up the projects in two years even if the request for relaxation of norms was not accepted by the Centre, he said.

The period of implementation of the Smart City Mission is 2015-2020.

Each city would receive Rs. 500 crore from the Centre. The State government would contribute another Rs. 500 crore for each of the cities. Chennai and Coimbatore were selected for funding under the Mission in 2015-2016.

In the second round, Madurai, Salem, Thanjavur and Vellore were selected.

Tiruchi, Tirupur, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi were selected in the third round. In the fourth round, the State government sent a proposal on November 30, 2017 to include Erode and Dindigul.

At the review meeting, Mr. Velumani directed the officials to float bids for all the Smart City projects before March 31.