Chennai: Two key policies of Tamil Nadu – the vision 2023 policy of the state and city corporation’s non-motorised transport policy – are losing their relevance as officials continue to sleep over multi-crore projects announced under the key policies.
The case of “Vision 2023 policy”, the brainchild of former chief minister Jayalalithaa, is a classic example exposing the lethargy in implementing the policies.
Nearly 60 per cent of the time for the policy timeframe is over, but several key projects announced under the scheme are still pending, sources said. The prominent projects promised by the state administrators include development of a brownfield port at Cuddalore and health city at Perundurai in western Tamil Nadu.
While the project discussion started in 2012, it was after five years that the Centre sanctioned `57.5 crore for Cuddalore port under Sagarmala project, but the work is yet to commence. Similarly the Perundurai health city proposal is yet to gain momentum and now hangs in the balance as the Centre drags its feet in setting up AIIMS at Perundurai. In Chennai the third desalination plant and integrated waste management project at Kuthambakkam are also behind schedule by three years, confirmed sources with state municipal administration.
Similarly, the non-motorised transport policy for Chennai was started in 2015 and its implementation was scheduled over the next two years. Three years have passed and even the basic cycle track project under the policy is still a non-starter. “The project promoting the good old bicycle among Chennaiites is progressing at snail’s pace and it took more than three years for the babus to reach the state of tenders. Now the tenders had to be awarded and then the project be executed”, said Thiru Vi Ka Nagar MLA Thayagam Kavi.
“The state policy had three phases – preparatory phase, demonstration phase and the scaling up seeking investments worth over Rs 1 lakh crore. Of this, close to 40 per cent of the schemes have been executed and this includes the spending of Rs 10,000 crore for high priority state road projects. Under the same policy the state is commissioning electricity projects worth over Rs 46,000 crore”, a senior official said.
TN seeks funds for smart city projects
In a bid to speed up the pending smart city infrastructure projects and to ensure speedy sanction of funds from the Centre, local administration minister S.P. Velumani on Tuesday met union minister of urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri. Velumani explained that the execution of projects under the smart city and other central policies is getting delayed due to technical glitches. He also demanded certain amendments to the guidelines already issued by the union ministry of urban affairs.
Pointing out that Tamil Nadu is one of the most urbanised states in the country, Velumani said that the state has consciously evolved a measured, comprehensive and pro-active approach to cope with the growing infrastructure demands.
Rapid industrialisation and the growing urban population had enhanced the demands from urban local bodies (ULBs). The ULBs play a crucial role in providing water supply, underground sewerage, roads and other basic civic amenities. Twelve municipal city corporations in Tamil Nadu have been selected for the smart city mission as model areas based on an area-based development (ABD) out of 99 cities selected across the country.
As the scheme is only for the specific area, the other area citizens are demanding similar infrastructure to be taken up simultaneously.
Most of the components are IT related activities and needs to be explored for taking up the infrastructure projects for a pan-city level.
As non-motorised transport and public transport are an essential part of Smart City, the Smart City Board may be given powers to procure modern and people-friendly buses for public transportation, Velumani said in his memorandum submitted to the union ministry.