Under the Smart City Mission, the cities propose to take up various projects including smart roads, rejuvenation of water bodies, cycle tracks, walking paths, smart classrooms and upgrading health facilities. DH file photo
K\’taka far behind in using Smart Cities project funds
Though the Centre has released Rs 886 crore for implementing the Smart Cities Mission in Karnataka, the state has so far spent a mere Rs 86.02 crore which is just 9.70% of total release.
According to the latest utilisation certificate submitted by the Karnataka government to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Centre has sanctioned Rs 886 crore for various works under the project in seven cities selected to implement the project.
Interestingly, of the Rs 86.02 crore spent by Karnataka, Rs 38.47 crore was used for office and administrative expenditure and the rest for project implementation.
In all, seven cities in Karnataka — Belagavi, Davangere, Hubballi-Dharwad, Shivamogga, Mangaluru, Tumakuru and Bengaluru — were selected for development under the Smart Cities Mission by the Ministry.
Davangere and Belagavi, which were the first two cities from Karnataka selected for development of smart cities in January 2016, were able to utilise only Rs 14.41 crore and Rs 23.63 crore respectively. Bengaluru, which was selected in May 2016, has spent just Rs 3.79 crore so far.
However, some of the smart cities like Surat, Nagpur, Indore, Varanasi and Udaipur are way ahead in executing projects under the scheme.
To provide modern amenities to urban areas, the NDA government launched the Smart Cities Project in 2015 and each selected city will get Rs 500 crore assistance from the Centre to implement various projects.
During the review of the scheme by the ministry, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab were found to be lagging behind in implementing the project and the Centre has asked these states to expedite its implementation.
Delays in setting up the special purpose vehicle, identifying works and finalising the tenders are the main reasons for poor progress in implementing the projects in some states including Karnataka, said an official in the Ministry.
Under the mission, the cities propose to take up various projects including smart roads, rejuvenation of water bodies, cycle tracks, walking paths, smart classrooms and upgrading health facilities.
The release of funds depends on certain conditions, including satisfactory physical and financial progress indicated by utilisation certificates that the cities have to submit to the ministry.