Bengaluru lags in implementation of smart city projects

Senior officials blamed delays on “lack of coordination” between government departments

90% projects under smart city mission completed

After “demanding” a spot on the Union government’s Smart City list, Bengaluru continues to languish in implementing the seven projects under the scheme, even while the other six cities in Karnataka chosen for the project appear to have made considerable progress.

Karnataka has repeatedly been pulled up since 2014 for its failure to get projects off the ground and the repercussions were felt as recently as in December last year when the urban development ministry began withholding funds for development. It said it had not received utilisation certificates for money allocated to each of the seven cities.

Senior officials blamed delays on “lack of coordination” between government departments. “While we admit there was a delay in launching the projects, over the last six or seven months, considerable progress has been made across the seven cities selected under the scheme,” said UDD principal secretary Anjum Parvez.

A big laggard city for Karnataka is Bengaluru. After much debate and deliberation, the city made it to the smart cities list in the final round in 2015, but it appears to be no better placed than before. Of the seven projects worth Rs 927.5 crore proposed under the scheme, none have been completed.

In fact, only two projects are currently in progress, while another four are languishing at the DPR stage.

Projects like the redevelopment of Shivajinagar bus stand, KR Market, Malleswaram Market, cleaning of the drainage system in Ulsoor Lake and TenderSURE roads are all stalled due to various administrative reasons and lack of political will.

Besides fortnightly meetings to check on progress across the state, it is said even chief secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar has personally invested time in taking stock of the scheme’s progress. The state is currently ranked six out of 29 in implementation of the scheme.