Thiruvananthapuram

Smart City: Sanctioningpanel a non-starter

Objection to inclusion of City Mayor in committee

An executive sub committee proposed to be constituted with an aim to speed up the administrative sanctioning of the various works under the city’s Smart City project is itself turning out to be a non-starter, as confusion prevails over the composition of the committee.

The Additional Chief Secretary of the Local Self Government Department had reportedly objected to the inclusion of the Mayor in the sub-committee, while the committee proposed by the Smart City CEO had the Mayor, the CEO, Additional Chief Secretary of the LSGD and the Corporation Secretary.

Consequently, the minutes of meeting of the Smart City board, held two weeks back are yet to be passed.

The constituting of the sub-committee to accord administrative sanction for the various projects was one of the agendas of that meeting. The stalemate comes at a time when Thiruvananthapuram’s Smart City project is lagging behind schedule, as the selection of the consultancy itself was delayed due to issues that cropped up during that time.

No expenditure

Even though it is almost a year since the consultancy was selected, no expenditure has yet been done for the projects from the sanctioned funds, as the projects have not yet progressed beyond the Detailed Project Report or the tendering stage.

At the same time, administrative expenditure has naturally gone up.

“The debate over the sub-committee is over whether it should be just a bureaucratic exercise or whether the people’s representative also should have a say in it. The sub-committee is meant for taking decisions on the final form of the project. It cannot be taken at the bureaucratic level alone. Now that it is pending, even if a project reaches the administrative sanction stage, it will be delayed,” said a source.

The previous board meeting also witnessed other issues too.

The Mayor objected to being bypassed while preparing the agenda of the meeting.

The agenda for the board meeting is usually prepared by keeping the Mayor in the loop. But in the previous meeting, he came to know of the contents only when it was presented at the meeting.

The agenda had several items including salary raise for the Smart City staff.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 9:34:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/smart-city-sanctioningpanel-a-non-starter/article26231892.ece

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