Smart Cities


BJP and Congress corporators recently traded barbs during a special session of Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC), which was convened to share suggestions for the Smart city project.A wordy duel ensued when opposition leader in IMC, Fouzia Sheikh Aalim accused BJP of draining coffers and telling lies to residents of Indore. “Crores of rupees have been spent on organising such events at 5-star hotels. Such sessions can be organised at the IMC office,” Aalim said.

It will take only one visit to Indore by any central government official to reject city’s claim for Smart City. Indore’s waste disposal system has collapsed, its transportation system is dated, drainage system is creaky and yet we are being told today to rally behind the mayor for Indore’s selection in final 20 cities that will be developed as smart cities, she said.

Yadav countered her argument accusing Congress of trying to derail the Smart City campaign. “Congress corporators could have sent their suggestion on the project earlier also. Instead of playing a positive role to develop the city, Congress is trying to scuttle the Smart City Project,” he said.

Rejecting Yadav’s claims, Aalim replied that Congress corporates were not taken into confidence all through the planning phase of the Smart City project. “We were never properly told what constitutes a Smart City. How city would look like in next few years and how much cost the city will have to incur due to the ambitious project,” she said.

Aalim said: “IMC finances are depleting fast, we are operating in debt. Still, we are planning to start another project, despite knowing that we will have to hike civic taxes and pass the burden on residents of Indore.” Such is the state of sewerage management that sewage water leaks into Narmada pipeline, making drinking water contaminated, she claimed.

“There is already a Swachh Bharat Mission tax. Now, the entire city will pay more taxes so that an area of just 764 acres could be developed,” she said.When the speaker asked Aalim to give suggestions on the Smart City project instead of talking about non-related issues related to taxes and finance, the Congress members hit back saying if their opinion did not matter this meeting should not have been held in the first place.

“Does IMC has any idea about accountability. People have been displaced on whims and fancies of IMC officials. Hawkers have been evicted without notices. It seems the civic body has shrugged off its responsibilities and made the officials to do so,” said Congress corporator Asif Ansari.”I would like to know why designing part of the Smart City proposal was outsourced to the Mehta consultancy. IMC engineers are fully trained to design town planning projects,” Aalim said.

Another BJP member said Congress’ adversarial role in this whole project seems to be a well-orchestrated drama to disrupt implementation of the project. “If disruption of the scheme is your poll plank, then you should say so. The Smart City project will change the face of Indore, we expect your suggestions on how we all can work collectively to make Indore better,” Yadav said.