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A senior corporation official said, "Under the smart cities programme, projects are mostly allocated to areas with high footfall such as the Main Guard gate, Teppakulam and the like.

While the corporation has taken up a total of 83 projects under the Smart Cities Mission, urban planners are yet to turn their focus on "underdeveloped areas" in the city like Palakkarai, Beema Nagar and Alwarthoppu, point out officials.

They now pin their hopes on a facelift for such areas under the second phase of the Union government programme. Of the 83 projects under the Smart Cities Mission, 43 have already been completed. Officials expect the remaining to be completed by March 2023.

However, most of the projects fall in prime locations, with some areas being allotted more than one project. For instance, project fund was spent twice for walkers' tracks in Anna Nagar, officials saud. Smart Cities Mission is an area-based development project, they pointed out.

A senior corporation official said, "Under the smart cities programme, projects are mostly allocated to areas with high footfall such as the Main Guard gate, Teppakulam and the like. The projects include construction of shopping complexes, modern markets and multi-level parking facilities at commercial areas. We prioritise prime locations to ensure a multitude of development.

However, we hope to include more underdeveloped areas in the second phase of smart cities programme." N Suresh, a resident of Palakkarai, said the beautification projects were allotted when the corporation was bereft of a council at its helm. "Now that the corporation has enough councillors, we expect more areas to fall under the project," Suresh said. Some of the officials, indicating a lack of funds, sought support from the Centre and the State governments.

"At present, the council is likely to prioritise basic development projects. Financial aid is a prerequisite if the projects need to carried out at full length," an official said. However, some of the residents opined that the situation would remain unchanged even under the second phase. "Residents of poorly-developed areas like Woraiyur or Alwarthoppu will be overlooked even in Smart City 2.0.," said R Muthulakshmi, a resident of Alwarthoppu.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Jose K Joseph

Quelle/Source: The New Indian Express, 15.12.2022

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