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Like all other development projects Tamil Nadu lags behind in Smart City Projects

Tamil Nadu has miserably performed compared to other states in implementing the smart city projects in various cities of the state, according to a report from the ministry of housing and urban affairs submitted in the Rajya Sabha last week

 The 11 cities in Tamil Nadu selected under the ambitious project have not even spent 1 per cent of the total funds of Rs 196 crore sanctioned by the central government in 2016. In addition to the Centre's allocation, the state government's share of another 200 crore has also been lying idle with the Tamil Nadu Urban Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation (TUFIDCO). 

Among the smart cities in the state, Coimbatore municipal corporation has spent the highest of Rs 7.27 crore while Salem spent the least - a meager Rs 5 lakh. Greater Chennai Corporation has spent Rs 3.82 crore, much less than Coimbatore. According to data submitted by urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Madurai has spent Rs 82 lakh; Salem,Rs 5 lakh; Thanjavur  Rs,19 lakh and Vellore Rs 6 lakh. 

Smart city: State gets entangled in red tape

Procedural delay and red tape in Tamil Nadu have been cited as the primary reasons for under utilization of funds for implementing the smart city project, according to state government sources.  Less than 1 per cent of the sanctioned Rs 196 crore was spent under the smart city mission for 11cities in the state according housing and urban affairs ministry’s report..

In other states, Special Purpose Vehicles - a company formed for the implementation of smart city projects - can take independent decisions on projects and expenditure. But in Tamil Nadu, the SPVs should seek clearance for the project proposals from the state high power committee that comprises the municipal administration and water supply secretary, finance secretary, and chairman of the Tamil Nadu Urban Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation (TUFIDCO) for projects above Rs 6.5 crore. This procedure consumes a lot of time," the sources said adding a solar power plant project proposed for Coimbatore took almost a year to get clearance. Recommended By Colombia


Though this circuitous procedure was a reason for the delay, the political instability since former chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death that led to stagnation of government machinery had a direct bearing on file clearances. "

 In 2016, the first list of smart cities was announced. But a month later, the election code of conduct was in place for assembly elections after which the new government was formed. Immediately, local body elections were announced. A series of events followed - Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation, her death, EPS becoming chief minister, rift in AIADMK. All this took a toll on smart city projects, the sources said. 

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