Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi has openly expressed displeasure over the manner in which projects under the Smart City Scheme were being executed and issued a strong warning to officials.
Speaking at a progress review meeting of various projects under the Smart City Scheme at the Circuit House in Hubballi on Thursday, Mr Joshi said that it was the duty of the officials to ensure the proper execution of projects and take steps to rectify anomalies in the projects if any, during implementation. “The officials should point out anomalies in the projects if any and take steps in coordination with various government agencies for the effective implementation of development works,” he said.
“We make efforts to get funds released for projects but ultimately the officials should execute the projects. Because of improper execution, negative reports are being published in media and elected representatives are being blamed. There is no clarity among officials about the Smart City projects. Consequently, the projects are not being considered as useful by the public and even the maintenance is poor,” he said, taking the officials to task.
The Union Minister sought to know why e-toilets built spending ₹ 1.10 crore in the twin cities were not functional. He also took exception to the lethargy of officials in taking remedial measures even after the issue of sewage water entering Tolana Kere, which is being developed under Smart City scheme, was brought to their notice by elected representatives. “If you don’t resolve the issue within 15 days, those concerned will be held accountable for the lapse and disciplinary action will be taken,” he warned.
Mr. Joshi also sought to know what development work had been taken up at the Indira Glass House at a cost of ₹ 15 crore. “No development or improvement can been on the ground. What happened to the musical fountain constructed earlier? Who will bear the responsibility for the failure,” he asked.
He directed Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad Nitesh Patil to get the implementation of the Smart City projects evaluated by a third party and take action against officials concerned if unnecessary expenditure had been made under the scheme.
Minister for Large and Medium Industries Jagadish Shettar too expressed displeasure over the lack of maintenance of public spaces in the twin cities and advised setting up of park maintenance committees under the chairmanship of the municipal commissioner.
He also asked the officials to immediately remove the encroachments on public spaces and roads around Vani Vilas Circle, Bhairidevarakoppa and Kamaripet and construct pavements.
During the meeting, the issue of getting additional funds for the flyover from Kittur Chennamma Circle to Gabbur Cross was discussed and the officials were asked to send a detailed project report for the development of the Jubilee Circle in Dharwad.
Mr. Nitesh Patil, MLA Arvind Bellad, Police Commissioner Labhu Ram, Managing Director of NWKRTC Krishna Bajpai, Municipal Commissioner Suresh Itnal, Managing Director of Hubballi Dharwad Smart City Limited Shakeel Ahmed and others were present.
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