Tendering Process For 283 Smart City Projects Starts
A day after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi targeted the Centre for "under-utilisation" of Smart City Mission funds, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri today hit back, saying the UPA government had spent only 68 per cent of the Rs 46,000 crore in its city-modernisation JNNURM scheme during its 10-year rule.
Gandhi had accused the BJP of making "empty promises", latching on to media reports that out of the total Rs 9,860 crore released to 60 cities under the Smart City Mission by the Centre, only seven per cent, or about Rs 645 crore, had been utilised so far. Puri, the Minister of State (independent charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs, took to Twitter to advise the Opposition leader against selectively choosing information, saying seven per cent was the amount of payments that have been made, while the actual payments due were 31 per cent.
Puri said that an amount of Rs 1,998.49 crore has been kept aside for O&M (operation and maintenance) cost of the mission and other contingencies, the statement said. Projects worth Rs 1,35,459 crore are in various stages of implementation, while 147 projects worth Rs 1,872 crore have been completed, it added. Puri said the implementation of the mission is done by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be set up at the city-level in the form of a limited company and are promoted by the State/UT and the Urban Local Body (ULB) jointly both having 50:50 equity shareholding.
So far 77 'smart cities' have established their SPVs, he informed.
Puri said the tendering process has started for 283 projects with a cost of Rs 16,549 crore and detailed project reports are being prepared for 2,029 projects worth Rs 1,02,366 crore.
Data also suggest that out of Rs 9,860 crore released to 60 cities under the Smart City Mission only seven per cent, or about Rs 645 crore, has been utilised so far, an issue which has raised concerns in the Urban Affairs Ministry. Of the Rs 196 crore released to each of around 40 cities, Ahmedabad has spent the maximum amount of Rs 80.15 crore, followed by Indore (Rs 70.69 crore), Surat (Rs 43.41 crore) and Bhopal (Rs 42.86 crore), according to data of the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.
On the other hand, the data revealed that of the sanctioned funds, Andaman and Nicobar could utilise only Rs 54 lakh, Ranchi Rs 35 lakh, and Aurangabad Rs 85 lakh. A HUA official recently said the ministry was concerned about the "unsatisfactory" progress of the project in some of the cities. He had said that the ministry would approach the cities that are lagging behind to find out the "bottlenecks" with an aim for speedy implementation of the projects.
Among cities which got around Rs 111 crore each from the Centre, Vodadara has spent Rs 20.62 crore, Namchi in Sikkim spent Rs 6.80 crore, while Salem, Vellore and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu could utilise only Rs five lakh, Rs six lakh and Rs 19 lakh, respectively.
Ninety cities have so far been selected by the government under the smart city mission and each of them will get Rs 500 crore as central assistance for implementing various projects.
The cities are required to set up Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to get funds from the Centre for the implementation of the project.
In a review meeting recently, the official said cities in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were found to be "performing well", while those in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra needed to speed up the implementation process.
Puri had earlier this month said the impact of projects undertaken under the scheme would be visible by mid next year. To instill competition among cities and push them for faster implementation of projects, the Centre will also present 'Smart City awards' in June.
Reviewing the progress of the Smart City Mission on August 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the challenge before everyone was to ensure implementation and expeditious completion of the work in the 90 identified cities.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was a city-modernisation scheme launched by the Congress-led UPA government in 2005. However, it was replaced by the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) after the NDA government came to power in 2014.
Gandhi put forth that out of 9,860 crore for the Smart Cities, only 7 per cent had been used. According to an official Housing and Urban Affairs
Ministry statement today, Puri had informed a Parliamentary consultative committee meeting recently that a total investment of around Rs 1,91,155 crore has been proposed by the 90 cities under their smart city plans.
He said projects focusing on revamping 'an identified area (Area Based Projects)' are estimated to cost Rs 1,52,500 crore.
With inputs from Housing News