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Among the first top 20 cities selected to be developed under the Smart City Mission in the country, Ludhiana has failed to maintain the momentum on project implementation. Out of total 70 projects taken up under the mission as of now, only 43 projects have seen completion. While some other projects are under execution, the rest are still at the tendering stage.

The Union ministry of housing and urban affairs recently announced that 22 cities are likely to complete the Smart City Mission by March-end, but the industrial capital of Punjab has not been included in the list of these cities. The MC officials said going by the utilisation of funds under the mission, the city has been ranked 32nd all over India.

The officials said city's ranking has improved a lot, but it will take at least two more years to complete the remaining works.

Under the mission, except for a few projects which have been completed are either deposit works (works done by other departments using fund from the mission) or those which were very small projects. The projects which have been completed included LED streetlights, installation of signage and wayfinding boards, carcass utilization plant, water front development at Sidhwan canal phase 1, facade lighting at Clock Tower, MC office in zone D and Southern Bypass bridge. Interestingly, projects like Malhar Road, Sarabah Nagar beautification, which have attracted criticism for flaws in design, are still not considered as complete due to technical reasons despite the fact that these were among the first few projects designed for the city.

A total of 19 projects are at the execution stage and tenders have been floated for eight projects.

MC superintending engineer Sanjay Kanwar said, "We are doing far better than other cities, including Amritsar which is lying at 66th rank while Jalandhar is at 86th position. So we are best city in Punjab at this time. As far as completion of all the projects is concerned, we hope to complete every project in the next two years."

Sanjay Goel, one of the directors of Ludhiana Smart City Mission and a city-based architect, said, "When the city was selected under the mission, residents were filled with pride while expecting a lot of useful projects for the city. Some very interesting projects were proposed too, but some of these were dropped as the mission moved ahead especially the multi-storey parking lots." He said political interference was always on the higher side as the state has got three different political parties forming governments in the past seven years.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Nidhi Bhardwaj

Quelle/Source: The Times of India, 19.02.2023

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