Half of the first 20 cities chosen for ‘smartening up’ under the Smart City Mission have not even utilised 50% of their allocated funds over the last three years. Laggards include Guwahati, Kochi, Ludhiana, Belagavi, Davanagere, Solapur, Udaipur, Delhi’s VIP area or New Delhi Municipal Council, Jaipur and Pune.
Surat, Kakinada, Indore and Ahmedabad have finished on top of the chart with respect to fund utilisation and number of projects under implementation. As per statistics provided to ET by the ministry, Surat has utilised 99.9% of funds allocated since 2016. Kakinada has used 99.3% of funds under the Smart City Mission.
The ministry of housing and urban affairs had unveiled the flagship programme in January 2016 by choosing 20 cities through a competitive process.
The ministry, however, does not feel progress of the mission is slow. Smart City mission director Kunal Kumar told ET, “The concept of smart cities is a new one. While the first batch of 20 cities was declared in January 2016, the first set of projects was formally launched by Prime Minister in June 2016. It took most cities 12-18 months to form an special purpose vehicle, mobilise financial resources, appoint human resource and consultants, prepare detailed project reports and tender projects.
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