The ambitious Smart City Mission, aimed at transforming cities into technologically advanced urban landscapes, is facing hurdles as the pace of development remains disappointingly slow in several key cities.
“Despite repeated instructions from the chief minister, progress on projects at seven out of the ten selected smart cities has fallen behind schedule, prompting the government to issue a notice to all concerned mission directors,” a senior official told The Pioneer on Wednesday.
The cities grappling with slow progress include Lucknow, Jhansi, Bareilly, Prayagraj, Saharanpur, Aligarh, and Moradabad. These cities were chosen by the Central government to spearhead the Smart City Mission in the state, with a total of 609 projects worth Rs 9,075.42 crore sanctioned for their development.
However, with the approaching deadline of June 30, 2023, it has become evident that the majority of these cities have failed to achieve even 50 percent completion of their projects. Among the lagging cities, Saharanpur has experienced the slowest progress, highlighting the need for urgent action.
In contrast, Varanasi, Kanpur, and Agra have made commendable strides in their respective projects, meeting expectations, and demonstrating satisfactory progress.
The government’s notice to the concerned mission directors signifies the growing concern regarding the sluggish pace of development. The directive emphasises the urgency to expedite the completion of the pending projects and get back on track to achieve the mission’s objectives.
The Smart City Mission was envisioned as a transformative endeavor, promising improved urban infrastructure, efficient public services, and innovative technology integration. However, the delayed progress in the cities has led to restlessness among residents and raised skepticism about the fulfillment of the mission’s promises.
“The concerned mission directors are working tirelessly to identify the bottlenecks that hinder the progress and implement corrective measures. They are facing a formidable task of reigniting ambition and innovation within their cities, rallying stakeholders and mobilising resources to overcome the challenges at hand,” the official said.
In view of the slow progress, citizens have begun to voice their concerns. They eagerly await the benefits promised by the Smart City Mission, hoping for a tangible transformation in their daily lives.
The seven lagging cities still have ground to cover to meet their targets, the collective determination and resiliency exhibited by the mission directors and citizens offer a glimmer of hope.
“The road to transformation is rarely smooth, but with continued perseverance and a renewed focus, the Smart City Mission has the potential to shape the future of these cities, and the lives of their inhabitants, for years to come,” the official said.