Centre, state differ on Smart Cities fund allocation

Karnataka and the Centre have conflicting figures on the funds released under Smart Cities project for the seven cities in the state. While the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs stated that Rs 1,255 crore had been released, the state Urban Development Department claimed that only Rs 970 crore was released by the Centre till date.

Responding to a recent question by Udupi-Chickmagalur MP Shobha Karandlaje in the Lok Sabha, the Ministry said that a total of Rs 1,255 crore was released by the Centre. Of which, utilisation certificates were submitted to only Rs 194.2-crore worth works as of June 2019.

Of the seven cities selected from Karnataka, five of them - Belagavi, Davangere, Hubballi-Dharwad, Shivamogga and Tumakuru received Rs 196 crore each, followed by Bengaluru Rs 158 crore and Mangaluru Rs 117 crore.

Among them, the highest utilisation was in Davangere which had received utilisation certificates for Rs 66.57-crore worth works, according to Ministry data.

However, sources in the Urban Development Department (UDD) and Karnataka Urban Infrastructure and Development Corporation (KUIDFC) said that the state government had received Rs 285 crore less than what was claimed by the Ministry. Contrary to the Ministry, sources in UDD told DH that only two cities in the state have received Rs 196 crore - Belagavi and Davanagere - while other cities had received less than the amount quoted by the Ministry.

“The total amount received by the state is Rs 970 crore, after which the state has sanctioned a matching grant of Rs 978 crore,” sources said. According to KUIDFC, Bengaluru city has received only Rs 55 crore, after being selected under Smart Cities project in June 2017, as against Rs 158 crore stated by the Centre.

Poor fund utilisation

Data by the Ministry also highlighted the poor utilisation of funds. Only Rs 194.1 crore of the Rs 1,255 crore was spent by these seven cities, with Bengaluru submitting utilisation certificate for works of only Rs 4.96 crore.

“The project was a new concept. The delay in delegation of works and in constituting the Project Monitoring Cell has further delayed the project implementation. This apart, the Detailed Project Report for high-value tenders under this scheme also took time,” the Urban Development department sources said.

However, works under the scheme have picked pace as projects worth Rs 2,900 crore has been tendered, while the works worth Rs 2,000 crore has already started, sources added.

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