Citizens train guns on smart city schemes
The much-touted and nearly Rs 2,000-crore smart city project is courting fire from citizens for want of projects that can actually make a difference to their lives. While the project has no place for sewerage, drainage and traffic management systems, highly ‘impractical’ schemes such as sharing cycles, building Anasagar pathway, a cultural park at Subhash Bagh and painting posh areas of the city figure prominently, according to citizens. These issues are expected to be discussed at the second board meeting of Ajmer Smart City Ltd (ASCL) on April 18 which would consider expenditure of about Rs 800 crore till June this year. Citizens complained that there were no plans to supply drinking water daily in the city in this scorching heat, manage traffic in the crowded Station Road and make sewerage lines functional.
The proposals for parking areas at Naya Bazaar and PR Marg were also pending before ASCL. But in its report to the board of directors, the company has stated its major achievements as the cycle sharing system, which hardly anyone uses in this heat, and work on book bank and toy bank that people hardly care about. Similarly, there’s no scheme to develop the drainage system of nallahs before the monsoon season. Though the city has a sewerage pipeline, constructed at a cost of about Rs 80 crore eight years ago, it is still not fully functional. “We have sanctioned Rs 83 crore more to make the sewerage line functional and to join it with new areas before including the dargah region,” said an official source.The city is also facing a serious issue of daily water supply, with many regions not receiving water up to 48 hours.
People living in low-lying areas have also complained that that they have not received anything from the smart city project. Areas such as Jhalkari Nagar, Nagara, Dholabhata, Johns’ Ganj, Pahar Ganj and surrounding areas do not even have a drainage system. While the ASCL has identified places to construct two big multistorey parking systems in the main city, nothing much has been done after that. “It’s impossible to walk on Station Road or Madar Gate. There’s no traffic management,” said a source. The total estimated capital cost for the smart city project is Rs 1,947.60 crore. Of this, Rs 1,547 crore is for area-based proposals, Rs 197 crore for pan city projects, Rs 177.05 crore for project preparation, management and contingency.