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Mission mode: Govt ups watch on Smart Cities

The government has stepped up monitoring of projects under the Smart Cities Mission (SCM), with about 21% of the projects yet to be completed and seven months remaining to meet the extended deadline of June 2024, said officials.

“We are having a detailed review of 35-50 smart cities every month to debottleneck projects there,” said a government official, who did not wish to be identified.

The government expects to complete 1,600 of these projects by March-end. The 400 SCM projects, which will go beyond March, are being monitored on a real-time basis.

“We have a strong management information system (MIS) that captures details for every project,” said the official.

Apart from the MIS, the government is closely tracking the progress of SCM projects that are falling behind through meetings, online and offline, on a regular basis.

These projects largely relate to water supply, multi-level car parking, building boulevards and transforming roads into smart roads, upgrading of sewerage and stormwater drain infrastructure, and new buildings for local markets.The government had extended the deadline for completion of the projects to June 2024 as Covid-19 delayed completion of the projects. Another reason for the delay in the implementation of the projects was the delay in the selection of cities. “Though the mission was launched in June 2015, the process of selection of 100 cities could be completed only by 2018,” said the official.The Centre has selected 100 cities under the mission, which seeks to provide the urban population with core infrastructure, a clean and sustainable environment, and improved life quality through “smart solutions”.

The plan included 8,000 projects in these cities to be implemented over five years at an estimated cost of ₹1.71 lakh crore.

The Centre has so far released ₹42,000 crore, of which about ₹39,000 crore has been utilised. In the current financial year, it allocated ₹8,000 crore to SCM, of which ₹4,500 crore was spent till October.

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