Kochi: While other cities selected for Smart City Miss’ion across the country have implemented a series of projects, Kochi city could spend only less than five per cent of the Rs 2075 crore programme. The Centre has already given `196 crore for implementing projects in Kochi and the deadline for Smart City Mission programmes, started in 2016, is March 2020.
“The Centre has provided only `196 crore and the remaining instalments will be given only after utilising 70 per cent of the funds,” said sources at Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML), the special purpose vehicle for Smart City Mission programme.
During a recent council meeting, Opposition leader K.J. Antony alleged that though Kochi was among the first 20 cities selected for the Smart City Mission programme, the authorities have failed to utilise the funds. “Lapses in identifying the areas for Smart City Mission have affected effectively planning and implementing the programme. Even if the funds are fully utilised only six per cent of the population will get benefit,” he said.
Meanwhile, sources at CSML told DC that as many as 27 projects are in various stages of execution. “A total of 14 projects worth Rs 310.17 crore have been awarded and are in various stages of implementation. Five projects worth `301.58 crore have to be awarded while eight projects at an estimated cost of `29.92 crore need to be re-tendered. A total of Rs 34 crore has been committed for the Kochi Corporation for housing project in Thuruthy colony,” sources said.
A top official with the Corporation alleged that it is the lack of initiative and support from the part of State government which slowed down the Mission programme. “The initial drive and enthusiasm when the city got selected for the programme died after the formation of CSML. Corporation, the major stakeholder of the programme, was given least representation in the SPV. Not even a full-time CEO was appointed. Kochi lags much behind other cities in implementing Smart City programme,” the official added....