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Friday, 30.09.2022
eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001

Seven-year celebrations of Smart City Mission by civic officials brought out the bitter critic in Ludhiana residents, who were left wondering what to celebrate when the city has made very little progress on the smart meter.

They expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of projects which were taken up under the mission.

Of these seven years, almost three years were spent in the preparation of detailed project reports (DPRs). Even if some projects were completed, residents questioned the quality of work and requirement of the projects.

The civic officials almost completed beautification of Malhar Road and upgraded Sarabha Nagar market. The iconic Clock Tower of the city was beautified too under the mission. But according to residents, instead of a smart road, Malhar Road turned out to be a bigger trouble for commuters than before as the road width was reduced and so-called footpath and cycle track turned into unofficial parking areas.

Similarly, shopkeepers in Sarabha Nagar market showed dissatisfaction over the project while demanding more parking area. Though the facade of the Clock Tower was beautified with colourful lights, its clocks still show wrong time.

The much-hyped LED streetlight project always remained in the storm due to poor maintenance of lights. Then came the carcass plant that was never utilised for the purpose. Similarly, static compactors couldn’t be operationalised in the absence of machinery even as civil structures were constructed at various locations. Even the Pakhowal Road ROB/RUB project has come under the scanner as various NGOs have raised question marks on the quality of project and safety aspect of commuters who use the railway underbridge.

Kapil Arora, an activist, rued, “What is there to celebrate when the basic issues of the city were left untouched. The smart city projects are a total failure and wastage of public money. In the coming days, residents will face a tough time due to waterlogging on all city roads and authorities did nothing to resolve this serious issue. Then we do not have parking space in major markets of the city.”

Sanjay Goel, one of the directors of Ludhiana Smart City Mission, who is also a city-based architect, said, “In almost every meeting, I emphasized on developing the entire city through projects instead of making smart areas smarter, but no one listened to me. How can anyone expect a long-term planning considering that seven to eight CEOs have changed in the past seven years.” He said the smart city mission could have been used as a game changer for the city if utilised properly, but they have missed the chance.

Mayor Balkar Sandhu admitted that projects started at a slow pace, but now “the process has been streamlined to a large extent. There can be certain shortcomings, but projects are not faulty. We can fix the issues.” He said integrated command and control centre and waterfront on Sidhwan Canal are among the best.

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Quelle/Source: The Times of India, 26.06.2022

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