FUND CRUNCH CRIPPLES KARNATAKA GOVT’S SMART CITIES SCHEME
Even as the six, tier II cities in Karnataka are on the cusp of receiving the Centre’s assured funding of Rs 1,000 crore each under the smart city project, Bengaluru and its two heritage cities Mysuru and Kalaburgi still await the state government’s nod for the “diluted” version of the scheme.Having embarrassed itself by proposing the names of Bengaluru, Mysuru and Kalaburgi for the smart city project, which were rejected by the Centre eventually, the government had tried its luck at redemption by floating a separate development scheme only for these three cities. The proposed scheme was scheduled to be on the same lines as that of that of the smart city project.
However, allocating Rs 3,000 crore for the three cities over a five year period eventually has become a huge financial burden for the government. According to urban development department officials, with the total outlay of the department itself being only Rs 8,000 crore, it was virtually impossible for them to spare Rs 3,000 crore over a period of five years exclusively for the three cities. Consequently, a truncated version of the smart city proposal was worked out allocating Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore for each city.Officials said the proposals are yet to be prepared, reworked and then once again brought before the cabinet for its approval. It is expected that the “diluted” version of the smart city project will take no less than two to three months for it to start receiving traction and be implemented. The Centre, in the meantime, has gotten along with constituting three scrutiny committees for the purpose of finalising the cities for the first phase of the smart city project.