‘Clock Tower project has no official approval’

The Clock Tower Circle project in Mangaluru is an example of the Smart City project not being public-centric.

A resident of Kavoor has filed a complaint with the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), New Delhi, regarding waste of money on unwanted projects.

K R Narayana Kalyanthaya, who has filed the complaint, has accused political leaders as well as the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) Commissioner of wasting public money in the name of implementation of the Mangaluru Smart City Mission (MSCM).

“No norm was followed in obtaining suggestions from the citizens and the works being implemented are substandard in quality,” he has said in the complaint.

Ironically, the charges appear justified.

The Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) is the nodal agency for the Smart City project in Karnataka. Sources in the KUIDFC have revealed that the Rs 90 lakh released for the Clock Tower Circle project, implemented in apparent urgency, did not have any official approval.

“The 75 to 80 foot tall Clock Tower near Town Hall is a replica of the heritage clock tower that was demolished to ease traffic movement in 1994. It was categorised under ‘junction improvement’ component,” a senior officer of KUIDFC has informed on anonymity.

Premananda Shetty, BJP corporator and Mangaluru Smart City Limited (MSCL), a special purpose vehicle to implement the MSCM, confirmed that the Clock Tower Circle project was implemented under ‘political pressure’.

“In fact, the Mission’s consultant, Wadia Techno-Engineering services was not involved, in the drafting of the proposal. The proposal by another consultant, Dharmaraj, on the setting up of the Clock Tower in a park was utilised by MSCL,” said Shetty.

He also recollected having strongly opposed the decision to borrow another consultant’s proposal.

Congress corporator A C Vinayraj, who has keenly followed the progress of the Smart City Mission, admitted that many among the 66 projects – including the Clock Tower – do not focus on the economy or employment.

District In-charge Secretary and member of High Power Steering Committee V Ponnuraj said that no official sanction had been promised to deal with the Clock Tower Circle project.

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