The Union housing and urban affairs ministry has extended the deadline for the Smart City Mission till June 2024, leaving many in Dehradun apprehensive.
Several residents have lamented the ‘mismanaged execution’ of the Smart City projects. Dehradun was brought under the Smart City scheme in phase 2 of the project in 2017 with a whopping budget of over Rs 1,400 crore and with this month as the deadline.
“The extension means that the departments will now behave in a more lethargic manner and while ideally, the work should not go beyond June 2024, in reality it may extend even further and continue to create problems for the locals,” said Yesh Veer Arya, a Canal Road resident.
The Smart City work in Doon has been characterised by delays, uncoordinated efforts and inconvenience caused to the public as a result.
“What kind of a Smart City can it be when every road has been dug-up , there is dust and gravel all around and the traffic is severely mismanaged? With the extension, these problems will now persist for even longer. Only putting up electronic screens or making a handful of smart toilets does not constitute a Smart City. We need infrastructure that accommodates the needs of the public in terms of traffic ease and convenience, and not half measures that create even more chaos,” said another resident.
Incidentally, officials of Smart City claim that only a handful of projects are currently ongoing while the rest have been finished. However, work is still underway at Parade Ground & Paltan Bazaar which in official records has been shown to be completed.
officials at the Dehradun Municipal Corporation said that not all smart vehicles that were supposed to be handed over have been given to them yet.
Officials, however, maintain that the projects are being done in a manner which will be the least inconvenient for the public. “The extension has been given to all cities under the Smart City mission and we will meet this new deadline easily,” said Prerna, spokesperson, Smart City.