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Smart city project yet to take off in Belagavi

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Belagavi: With the Union Urban Development Ministry concerned by the delay in implementation of the Smart City Project (SMP) in Belagavi, which found a place in the first list of 20 cities released by the Centre three years ago for the project, the state’s Urban Development Department has called a meeting on October 7 in Bengaluru to look into the causes responsible. The incharge chief executive officer of the SMP’s Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Shashidhar Kurer is expected to attend the meeting. BJP leader, Rajeev Topannavar blames the state government for the delay claiming it failed to give impetus to the project despite establishing an office exclusively for the head of the SPV and the release of hundreds of crores for its first phase.

The government appointed an IAS officer, Mulai Muhilan as MD soon after opening the SPV office two years ago, but abruptly transferred him after a year even before he could do any preliminary work,he recalls. Also criticising the delay, the Professionals’ Forum says the consultant for the Smart City Project, Tractable Engineering Solutions, has inexperienced staff, who have failed to complete the tasks at hand on time and has urged the government to cancel its contract with the company and engage another consultant. In its view, regional commissioner Shivayogi Kalasad should be appointed chairman of the SPV, the Deputy Commissioner of Belagavi its vice chairman and the chief engineer of PWD , a member.

It also believes that a senior engineer, who is a resident of Belagavi, should be made head of the high level technical committee tasked with designing and planning for the project. Mr Kurer had announced in May that Belagavi would get Rs 1,000 crore under the project and of this the Centre had sanctioned Rs 400 crore for building and improving infrastructure like roads and bridges, conserving and developing water bodies, protecting heritage structures and developing green spaces in the city.

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