Smart Cities list: Mangaluru Mission ranked lower

Smart Cities list: Mangaluru Mission ranked lower

Mangaluru Smart City Mission (MSCM) is one among the bottom five cities on the list of Smart Cities evaluated based on their performance by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).

“Mangaluru Smart City has been ranked lower on the list at 47 (52nd rank is shared by nine cities) in the first-ever evaluation of 60 Smart Cities by MoUHA,” sources in  Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC), the nodal agency for Smart Cities in Karnataka, said. In all, it has taken five rounds to select and add cities to the list of 100 Smart Cities (20 cities in the first second, 13 in second, 27 in third and the remaining 40 cities in fourth and fifth rounds).

The sources said that the poor response to OM (office memorandums), tardy progress in the implementation of works and others things have slotted MSCM at the bottom of the list.

Among the 66 projects (total cost 2,000.70 crore) identified under different components by Mangaluru Smart City Limited (MSCL), a special purpose vehicle to implement the MSCM, work has begun only on the Clock Tower Circle and bus shelters, sources in MSCL told DH.

The MSCL is accused of ignoring Smart Cities Mission’s directions on involving citizens in the designing of complex projects (OM, June 07, 2016), parks and junctions (OM, March 23, 2018) and most importantly, floating municipal bonds.

It is yet to launch a website and use social media to create awareness on the benefits of Smart City proposals. Besides poor strategic planning, the MSCL does not even have a vision statement to inspire the residents, sources in the KUIDFC told DH.

Dharmaraj of Infrastructure Development Foundation (IDF), one of the consultants for MSCL, poo-poohed the survey and said the rankings were decided at the whims and fancies of officials in Smart City Mission.

BJP Corporator and director of MSCL Premananda Shetty claimed that Mangaluru has topped in a survey based on best proposals.

Congress Corporator A C Vinay said that none of the projects under MSCM drive economic activities. “The development of infrastructure and economic growth should go hand in hand. For instance, Old Bunder port, if retrofitted, would have created thousands of jobs,’’ he said.

RTI activist Hanumanth Kamath charged that none of the works identified by MSCL have been approved by Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) Council.

MCC Commissioner and In-charge Managing Director of MSCL Mohammed Nazir attributed the delay in implementation of works due to ‘pressure from politicians’.

“As Mangaluru has been accorded A grade status by the government, municipal bonds would be floated soon,’’ he said.

In-charge secretary of Dakshina Kannada V Ponnuraj said the works will be expedited.

Concern over quality

Citizens have expressed concern about the poor quality of work in Kavoor bus shelter construction.

K R Narayana, a resident of Kavoor, in a letter had drawn Mangaluru Smart City Limited’s (MSCL) attention to the poor construction of bus shelter near Mahalingeshwara temple in Kavoor. The MSCL managing director, in a reply, has said that the work has not been completed and once completed, the agency will address his concerns.