Advisory meetings will be held to rectify flaws in Smart City projects: MP

‘We will finetune them so that they cause lesser or no inconvenience to people’


After attending the Smart City Advisory Forum (SCAF) meeting on Monday, its Co-chairman and Madurai MP Su. Venkatesan said that a series of five advisory meetings, with officials from different departments, will be conducted soon, to rectify flaws in some of the Smart City Mission projects here and come up with solutions.

While addressing the media after the meeting, Mr. Venkatesan pointed out that under Smart City Mission, several cities across the country had undertaken about 80-90 smaller projects, but in Madurai, 14 bigger budget projects were undertaken.

He said, “Though the projects were aimed at making Madurai a better city, the way they have been implemented is making us question the intent of the previous government. Take the example of Periyar bus stand and we can openly see that the commercial shopping complex has got more prominence than the bus departure facilities. Around 4,000 bus departures have to take place there on a daily basis; we do not know if it can happen without causing heavy traffic congestion. Similarly, the city’s green cover in the central region is almost zero percentage now as the only park here was converted to a complex under this project.”

There are many flaws in the implementation that might cause a lot of inconvenience to the public and so as an advisory board, SCAF is looking to come up with solutions to rectify them, he added. “As 80-90 percentage of works under these projects has already been completed, we are looking to finetune the works under the projects in such a way that they cause lesser or no inconvenience to people,” he said.

The advisory meetings will focus on five aspects: functioning of Periyar bus stand, Vaigai river front development, traffic regulation, implementation of underground drainage system and heritage development projects. The meetings will also dwell upon other works undertaken in connection with the above mentioned five aspects by the civic body.

Finance Minister P. T. R. Palanivel Thiagarajan who was also present in the meeting questioned the executional capability of the previous government, when it came to the projects.

He said, “In other States, the smart city project is taken care of by a CEO and Mayor, apart from the Corporation Commissioner. Here, all the three responsibilities have been lying with the Corporation Commissioner. Ever since the projects were kickstarted here about 4-5 years back, no SCAF meeting was conducted until January this year. We do not know under whose supervision have all the decisions regarding implementation of the projects been taken so far.”

Mr. Thiagarajan was also of the opinion that the biggest problem around such bad implementation of projects was the inconvenience it will cause to the public, apart from the additional funding and planning it would demand.

Collector S. Aneesh Sekhar presided over the meeting. Corporation Commissioner K.P. Karthikeyan, Madurai South MLA M. Boominathan, Madurai North MLA G. Thalapathi and Tirupparankundram MLA V.V. Rajan Chellapa were also present.

Mr. Karthikeyan said that three out of the 14 projects under the Smart City Mission had been completed and a fund of ₹ 601 crore had been released for different projects under it.

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