Centre pulls up Karnataka for not setting up smart city forum
Pulling up the state government for dragging its feet over setting up the Smart City Advisory Forum for Bengaluru, the union ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) termed it a violation of the guiding principle of the Centre’s Smart Cities Mission.
In its communication to the state’s urban development department, MoHUA secretary Durga Shanker Mishra emphasized the need to expedite setting up the forum.
The forum was conceived to advise and enable collaboration among various stakeholders. Though Bengaluru was included in the Smart Cities list in June 2017, nothing moved on the ground. It was only on January 3 this year that a special purpose vehicle (SPV), called Bengaluru Smart City Limited (BSCL), was established with Bruhat Bengaluru MahanagaraPalike (BBMP) commissioner as its managing director.
One of the first things to have been done was to establish the Smart City Advisory Forum, which, as per the guidelines, should have the district collector (at city level), mayor, MPs, MLAs, technical experts, officials, citizen activists and NGOs as members. The managing director will be the forum convener with meetings held once a month.
MoHUA had written to the Karnataka government on May 4, July 5 and August 21 this year to set up the forum. It also set August 31 as the deadline and sought information about compliance by September 10. “With hectic political developments in the state, the forum had been put on the back burner. The forum is important as it will monitor and guide the project,” a state government official said.
When contacted, additional chief secretary (urban development) Mahendra Jain said: “There is a SPV as per the mission guidelines. The state government has constituted a review and implementation committee with the district minister, urban development minister and MLAs.”
Meanwhile, BBMP commissioner and managing director of BSCL, N Manjunath Prasad, said an order was issued two days ago for setting up the forum and it’ll be made public on Monday.
Under the Smart City project, around Rs 2,219 crore will be spent on the core area. The city will get more roads developed as per TenderSURE guidelines, have more CCTV surveillance, energy-efficient lighting, e-rickshaws, public bicycle share points, smart parking, smart bus shelters, e-toilets, water ATMs, dustbins and vendor kiosks. According to officials, social survey and collection of data from various user groups are under way and tenders will be called later.