Speed is the key for Smart Cities success

The central and state governments need to speed up Smart Cities Mission (SCM) so that 2,864 projects worth Rs. 135,958 crore gets completed on or before 2019

For Smart Cities Mission (SCM), the government has only completed 148 projects worth Rs. 1,872 crore and it still has a log way to go as many projects are in the completion stage, tendering stage or DPR stage.

Presently, work is underway for 407 projects with a cost of Rs. 15,600 crore. Tendering has started for 237 projects with a cost of Rs. 13,514 crore and DPRs (Detailed Project Reports) are being prepared for 2,025 projects worth Rs. 102,260 crore. The progress with respect to implementation of Smart Cities Mission pertains to smart solutions, smart roads, smart water, smart lightning, solar rooftops and others.

Hardeep Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs said, “A total investment of Rs. 191,155 crore has been proposed by the 90 cities under their smart city plans. Projects focusing on revamping an identified area (Area Based Projects) are estimated to cost Rs. 1,52,500 crore. Smart initiatives across the city (Pan City Initiatives) account for the remaining Rs. 36,655 crore of investments. Besides ABP and Pan city projects an amount of Rs. 1,998.49 crore has been kept aside for O&M (Operations and maintenance) cost of the Smart Cities Mission and other contingencies.

First, the implementation of Smart cities as per SCM is to be done by Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be set up at city level in the form of a limited company under the Companies Act, 2013 and is promoted by the State/UT and the Urban Local Body (ULB) jointly both having 50:50 equity shareholding. Once the SPV is formed, the selected smart city will prepare DPRs and tender documents through Project Management Consultants (PMCs) and others.

Both the state/UT and the urban local body has already wasted lot of time in forming up of SPV, finalizing tender documents and finalising the winners for respective projects. So far only 77 smart cities out of 90 smart cities have established their SPVs and the state governments should form the remaining 13 SPVs latest by March 2018 so that they can float tenders and finalise the winners at the earliest for specific projects.

Second, majority of the project are in the DPR stage and both state and central government should focus on completion of DPR and floating the DPRs so that vendor for these projects can be finalised and work for such projects can be initiated. The government should set a timeline so that by June 2018 all DPRs are finalised.

Third, lot of time gets wasted in finalising the vendor for specific project within SCM projects. The state government should ensure that all the projects within Smart Cities Mission gets finalised in the first round itself and there is no re-tendering as it is a sheer waste of time if it goes for re-tendering. Even the timelines for the tenders should be completed within three months time so that work can start at the earliest.

Fourth, since the majority of products are in PPP (Public Private Project) mode, the state government and urban local body should help the winning vendor in all aspects so that the work gets completed in time as it is done in the case of metro projects so that there is no delay in smart cities project. The site acquisition and other clearances should be given in a time bound manner so that work can be completed on time and there is no cost escalation.

Fifth, once the project is completed, focus should be also on Operations & Maintenance (O&M) so that the project is completed on time and all parameters are monitored for managing and maintaining the SLA (Service Level Agreement) of the project so that vendor gets paid on time and citizens are also satisfied with the service provided by Urban Local Bodies.



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