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One-fourth of central smart city funds remain unspent

Ludhiana got maximum amount of Rs 392 crore under SCM

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Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, March 21

Almost one-fourth of the Central funds released so far for developing Ludhiana as a smart city were lying unspent, the Centre has confirmed.

Will ensure early execution

We will ensure early execution of the SCM to develop Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar as smart cities. With the Centre and state government committed to give matching grants, projects will be completed on a priority basis to provide world-class facilities to residents.Rs Sanjeev Arora, RS MP

Of the three smart cities under development in the state, Ludhiana has got the maximum central funds of Rs 392 crore, with an equal share from the state government since its selection among 100 cities under the Smart City Mission in 2015, the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) has revealed.

This information was furnished by Union Minister of State for HUA, Kaushal Kishore, in reply to a question by Rajya Sabha MP from Ludhiana Sanjeev Arora.

Arora had asked about details of the unspent balance of smart city funds from the Central Government in Punjab and the time by which this balance amount will be disbursed.

In response, the Minister of State for HUA submitted in Parliament on Monday that a total of Rs 1,037 crore had been released by the Union Government under the Smart City Mission (SCM) for development of Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar as smart cities. Of these, Ludhiana had got the maximum of Rs 392 crore, Amritsar Rs 351 crore and Jalandhar Rs 294 crore.

He further disclosed that the Central funds utilised by the smart cities so far included Rs 296.5 crore by Ludhiana, Rs 288.13 crore by Amritsar and Rs 196 crore by Jalandhar. In this way, a sum of Rs 95.5 crore, which accounted for 24.36 per cent of the total Central funds released so far had remained unspent in Ludhiana, Rs 62.87 crore, which was 17.91 per cent, had not been spent in Amritsar, and Rs 98 crore, which accounted for 33.33 per cent of the total Central grant, had remained unused in Jalandhar.

The unspent amount in all three smart cities in making in Punjab was Rs 256.37 crore, which was 24.72 per cent of the total Rs 1,037 crore central grant released so far, while a sum of Rs 780.63 crore was utilised under the SCM in Punjab till date.

“The funds under the SCM are, inter alia, released based on the matching share released by the state government/urban local body, satisfactory physical and financial progress, and reasonable utilisation of the central and state funds released to the respective smart city,” the Union MoS added.

Ludhiana was among 100 cities in the country and three in the state, which was selected under the SCM to be developed as a smart city in the first round of the selection by the Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) in 2015.

The industrial and business hub of the North is fast moving towards becoming a smart city as envisaged under the SCM of the Centre.

As many as 43 projects worth Rs 146.88 crore had already been completed while 27 more projects costing Rs 783.12 crore had been put under execution and were at present under various stages of progress.

Of the 27 under execution projects, the work on 19 projects worth Rs 582.9 crore had already been awarded and was under progress while other eight projects worth Rs 136.93 crore had been tendered out. Besides, the detailed project report was under preparation and approval was sought for another project, which will cost Rs 63.29 crore.

With this, a total of 70 projects worth Rs 930 crore were undertaken by the LSCL to develop Ludhiana as a smart city.

The progress of all the undergoing projects was being regularly monitored to ensure their completion as per specifications within the prescribed time frame. “Besides making the projects complete on time, our main emphasis remains on ensuring quality control as well,” Municipal Corporation (MC) Commissioner Shena Aggarwal, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ludhiana Smart City Limited (LSCL), said, adding that all efforts were put in place and all stops had been pulled to further improve Ludhiana’s ranking on the national front by escalating the progress of ongoing projects and ensuring their early completion.

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