Poor governance dashes Bengaluru's Smart City dream

Slow delivery of services costs project

Poor governance dashes Bengaluru's Smart City dream

Maladministration in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) seems to be taking a toll on Brand Bengaluru.

The City failed to meet the Centre’s eligible criteria for the Smart City Mission, an ambitious project to improve the quality of life through smart solutions in urban areas.

Mysuru and Kalaburagi, too, are ineligible. “The three cities have failed to qualify for the Mission. The Centre had laid 15-point eligibility criteria and assigned marks to each of them. Bengaluru has secured the least marks,” Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake told reporters.

The cities that secured the highest marks and became eligible for the Mission are as follows: Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Belagavi, Hubballi-Dharwad, Tumakuru and Davangere.
Operable online grievance redressal system, levy of compensatory penalty for delay in service delivery, payment of salary by urban local bodies, preparation of audit report and percentage of JNNURM phase-1 project completed are some of the important criteria.

Bengaluru lost out mainly because of poor delivery of services by the BBMP, incomplete JNNURM projects, BBMP’s inability to implement city-level JNNURM reforms and inability to mobilise adequate resources. Besides, the BBMP has not done audit of its accounts for many years. The situation is no different in Mysuru and Kalaburagi. The State government had initially proposed 20 cities and towns, including Bengaluru, for the Mission, said Sorake.

Under the Smart City Mission, Rs 1,000 crore will be spent in a span of five years. The State and Centre will share the cost at 50:50 ratio. The State government has to send the smart city proposal for six eligible cities to the Centre within three months.

The Centre will later select the best proposals for implementation. In all, the evaluation is done by the Centre at all the three levels.

Cong blames BJP

Minister Sorake and Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy squarely blamed the BJP for Bengaluru being ineligible for the Mission.

“JNNURM was implemented between 2005 and 2013. The BJP and the JD(S) were in power during this period. It is because of the BJP that the City has missed the opportunity,” Reddy, who is also Bengaluru in-charge minister, said.

He said two of the Union ministers are from Bengaluru. They should have mounted pressure on the Centre to change the eligibility criteria and ensured that Bengaluru became eligible. This shows that the BJP leaders do not have any concern for Bengaluru, he added.

However, Bengaluru is among 27 cities and towns selected for the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), which envisages upgrading infrastructure facilities.

Besides, the government will send a proposal under the Centre’s housing scheme meant for the benefit of urban poor.

Proposal will be sent for constructing 6 lakh flats in urban areas under the scheme, Sorake said.

The minister also said the State government will develop Bengaluru, Mysuru and Kalaburagi on the lines of Smart City Mission using its own resources.

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