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Kochi: Heading Nowhere, Our Smart City Project

Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML) is facing a near-impossible task as only projects worth Rs 50 crore have been completed till date, while the deadline for the entire project – worth Rs 2,075 crore – is March next year. Most projects are still in the tender stage and those which have been tendered are yet to be awarded.

Over the past three-and-a-half years, authorities couldn’t do much. Of the lot, projects worth Rs 1,000 crore are being executed directly by CSML. The remaining works also include Kerala Water Authority’s (KWA) uninterrupted water supply project (Rs 621 crore), Kochi One card project by Kochi Metro Rail Limited (Rs 25 crore), KWA replacing its old water pipelines in city (Rs 130 crore).

Of the Rs 1,000 crore works, CSML has tendered projects worth Rs 904 crore and works to the tune of Rs 270 crore have been awarded to various firms. “Many of the projects have been tendered. The work on those projects will begin soon,” said CSML MD APM Mohammed Hanish.

The government has already given administrative and technical sanctions for projects worth Rs 881 crore and Rs 856 crore respectively. Tender process of many big projects like the Rs 301-crore smart poles are yet to be finished.

“When we invited expression of interest, five telecom firms approached us. Later, when we ahead with request for quotation (RFQ), only of them responded. Evaluation of RFQ is underway,” said an official with the Smart City project. If the project is implemented, smart poles would replace telecom towers in city. Besides providing 4G connectivity, smart poles would give Wi-Fi as well.

At the same time, Ernakulam market work renovation, worth Rs 100 crore, and Broadway renovation, worth Rs 10 crore, are yet to be tendered. “We have to rehabilitate all merchants from the market before starting our work. We held talks with various stakeholders with the help of MP, MLA, corporation and Greater Cochin Development Authority. Still, we couldn’t find a solution,” said officials.

Officials said that smart roads project, worth Rs 63 crore under area-based development in Ernakulam, has started. Also, work amounting to another Rs 60 crore for road development in Smart City areas in West Kochi has begun. Though city is facing parking problems, the multi-level car parking project at Kacheripady, worth Rs 6 crore, has not been tendered.

KWA – which will implement projects worth Rs 750 crore under Smart City scheme – is also not doing well on the work front. The roads dug up to lay pipelines as part the uninterrupted water supply project are yet to be restored. Implementation of the project would have been boon for the residents who faced acute drinking water shortage during summer.―Times of India

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