Ludhiana:On January 28, it would be complete one year to the announcement of the Central Governments’ announcement of developing Ludhiana as a smart city, the project is yet to be kicked-off as funds to make a city smart has not been cleared by the concerned authorities, which shows that smart city Ludhiana is a distant dream.
It seems as if it was a political move to make mockery of public to get votes. As this project would further get delayed due to lack of proper funds as till formation of new government now the funds would not be released for smart city project.
It is worth mentioning that under smart city mission as the funds over Rs. 195 crore are not being released to the Ludhiana Smart City Limited (LSCL) by the State Government. Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria also urged to release the funds. The tenders for construction of public toilets and installation of direction boards under the smart city mission were already floated but work orders were not allotted due to the non- availability of funds. Under the smart city project, MC had proposed to adopt the retrofitting model for areas along Ferozepur Road, including Ghumar Mandi and Sarabha Nagar Market but no work has been started till date.
In the last one year, several meetings have been conducted but the projects under smart city mission are hanging in fire due to the non-availability of funds. An official on requesting anonymity claimed that Rs. 196 crore have been sent by the central government to state government few months ago but Ludhiana Smart City limited (LSCL) received only Rs. 50 lakh while the remaining funds are not being released by the state government.
On January 28, when the announcement was made to develop Ludhiana as the smart city, the MC officials claimed that Ludhiana would get Rs. 1,000 crore from the central government and the state government in the next four years for smart city.
The Chief Executive Officer, Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC), JM Balamurugan, who is the vice-chairman of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for smart city projects, said that the funds are to be released by the state government. An online activity was conducted under which the Municipal Corporation had selected the area along Ferozepur Road, including Ghumar Mandi and Sarabha Nagar for retrofitting model through online activity.
MC will have to ensure features like assured electricity supply with at least 10 percent of smart citys’ energy requirement coming from the solar power, adequate water supply, including waste water recycling and storm water reuse, sanitation including solid waste management, rain harvesting system, smart metering, robust IT connectivity and digitalisation, pedestrian-friendly pathways, encouragement to non-motorised transport (cycling and walking), intelligent traffic management, non-vehicle street zones, smart parking, energy efficient street lighting, innovative use of open spaces, visible improvement in area, safety of citizens and especially children, women and elderly in these areas.