Eight years on, Ludhiana wonders how smart it has become, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

June 25, 2023

LUDHIANA: Eight years after the launch of the Smart City Mission, city residents are wondering if the entire exercise has been worthwhile. The Smart City mission was launched on June 25, 2015 with great expectations, many of which came crashing down due to shoddy implementation.

The city looks like a labyrinth of concrete and question marks are being raised on quality and design of works. In the last eight years, officials have completed 48 projects. However, most of these are small. The major projects conceived under Smart City are still pending.

The projects that have been completed are either deposit works (works done by other departments funded through Smart City mission) or very small projects. Completed projects include LED street lights, Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC), installation of signage and wayfinding boards, carcass utilisation plant, waterfront development at Sidhwan canal phase 1 and phase 2, beautification and refurbishment of Mini Rose Garden, extension of animal birth control (ABC) centre, refurbishment of ancillary infrastructure at PAU hockey stadium, façade lighting at clock tower, MC office in zone D and southern bypass bridge etc.

Projects like Malhar Road and beautification of Sarabha Nagar, which drew flak because of flaws in design, are still not considered complete due to technical reasons. This despite the fact that these were among the first few projects designed for the city. Sixteen projects are at execution stage and tenders have been floated for five projects.

A senior MC official said, “We are in much more satisfactory situation as compared to other cities. As far as completion of projects is concerned, we hope that 100% projects will be completed in the next two years. Residents will have to support civic officials in making the city smart.” Residents feel that development of the city has not been uniform.

Naughara Mohalla resident Tribhuvan Thapar said, “The MC has failed to fulfil basic requirements of residents like water supply, proper sewage system and good quality roads. In the old city, one can see tangled wires every where, which also cause major fire accidents. Officials have made one particular area, which was already in good condition, smart but other areas are in poor condition.”

He also accused authorities of conceiving “useless projects” under smart city mission. One of the directors of Ludhiana Smart City mission and citybased architect Sanjay Goel conceded that the Smart City mission had turned out to be a disappointment. “The concept of smart city was very good but it did not come out like that. Initially, there were meetings with all stakeholders, including elected representatives and people of a particular area but gradually, officials stopped involving the public,” he said, adding that in eight years, three different parties and seven to eight chief executive officers looked after smart city projects, which gradually lost their sheen.

‘70% projects completed’

Ludhiana Smart City Limited (LSCL) has completed 70% of the total projects (48 out of 69), planned under the mission, claimed MC commissioner and chief executive officer, LSCL Dr Shena Aggarwal.

She also said that LSCL has achieved 82.69% average physical progress under the mission (including all 69 projects) and regular monitoring of projects is being done to expedite their implementation. She also said that they were trying their best to complete pending works in a given time period.

  • Published On Jun 25, 2023 at 06:30 PM IST

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