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Smart City projects only talk, no action

Smart City projects only talk, no action


LUDHIANA: Civic authorities have failed to complete even two projects that were inaugurated on 25 June last year amid fanfare. The two projects — installation of solar panels in government buildings, and smart signboards at various locations — were inaugurated last year on the occasion of anniversary of the Smart CityMission. Out of these two, only installation of solar panels is complete, but panels are not in use and the signboards project is still only at the survey stage.

After inauguration of the installation of solar panels on 25 June last year, the company could start the installation process only from January this year. As of now, the panels have been installed in a few MC buildings. But they cannot be used in the absence of electricity meters. The MC had applied for installation of meters from the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), but there is a shortage of meters with the power department, so civic officials have been asked to wait for them. Unless these meters are installed, solar panels cannot come into use. The total cost of this project is Rs3.53 crore.

Similarly for road signboards, first of all some court case hampered the initiation of the project, and now when the work has been assigned again, the company is conducting a survey in the city. As of now, some locations are finalized, but installation is yet to be started. The total cost of the project was Rs9.13 crore. Chief executive officer-cum-MC commissioner Jaskiran Singh said they had applied for the meters, but there was a shortage with the power department. He said they could not install the meters on their own due to technical problems, and only the power department can get it done. “We are also at a loss, as even after installation, we are unable to utilize the solar panels,” he added.

Notably, three years have gone by since the Smart City Mission was launched, but not a single project has been completed in the city. On Monday, it is going to be the third anniversary of this mission, and except preparation of project reports, and approval from higher officials for a handful of projects, residents cannot see much difference in the city’s condition.

City-based architect Sanjay Goel — one of the directors of Ludhiana Smart City Limited (LSCL) — said: “In three years, we have only seen presentations and documentations for these projects. Now, in the next year, hopefully MC is able to bring some projects to fruition. These projects need regular monitoring, and conducting of meetings at the local level, so that the issues get easily resolved.”

In the initial stage of the Smart City Mission, it was decided that a permanent CEO would be appointed for Ludhiana Smart City Limited (LSCL), but since the state government failed to hire any professional, MC commissioners handled the charge. In the past three years, Ludhiana MC got six commissioners, and due to frequent shuffling of heads, the progress of the Smart City Mission also got affected.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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