Nagpur Smart City: A Seven-Year Odyssey Towards Modernization

Unveiling the Lag in Nagpur’s Smart City Mission

Nagpur, Maharashtra – In a city that breathes history, the Smart City Mission was expected to be a revolutionary stride towards modernization. However, seven years after its initiation, the ground reality paints a different picture. The Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Limited (NSSCDCL) finds itself grappling with the completion of 17 crucial projects out of the over 40 undertaken.

The Countdown to Deadline: A Race Against Time

With a mere four months left until the Smart Cities Mission deadline, the NSSCDCL faces the daunting task of wrapping up pending works. Originally slated for completion by June 2021, the deadline has undergone extensions, first to June 2023, and now to June 2024. The lingering projects stand as a challenge to the NSSCDCL, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) created for the Smart City initiative.

Financial Infusion and Government Collaboration

The NSSCDCL, backed by a substantial grant of Rs741.63 crore from the central government, also embraced state government projects under the Smart and Safe City initiative during the tenure of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. A significant allocation of Rs524 crore was made for projects involving CCTV cameras and smart kiosks.

A Tale of Two Projects: CCTV Cameras and Smart Kiosks

The CCTV camera project emerged as a success story, aiding the Nagpur city police in crime-solving, traffic management, and flood monitoring. However, the narrative takes a turn when it comes to the 65 smart kiosks, also known as touch points. These kiosks, intended to provide a spectrum of services linked to central and state governments, civic bodies, and government departments, remain non-operational.

“The kiosks were not integrated with various government agencies, including the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC),” concedes a senior official from the NSSCDCL. The installation of both CCTV cameras and smart kiosks was entrusted to a private firm through Maha-IT, a state government department.

A Desolate End for E-toilets and Other Unfinished Business

The much-anticipated NSSCDCL project involving the installation of 50 e-toilets faced an abrupt halt when the Kerala-based contractor discontinued the work. Only 12 units (6 men’s and 6 women’s) were installed, and they now stand closed due to non-maintenance.

Among the projects yet to see completion are the construction of 10 bridges, four elevated storage reservoirs (ESR) under Area Based Development (ABD), a sewage treatment plant on Pohra river, and the construction of four parking plazas at different locations.

Looking Back, Moving Forward

While NSSCDCL has achieved milestones in projects such as the resettlement and rehabilitation of project-affected persons and the procurement of 40 air-conditioned electric buses, the lingering incomplete ventures cast a shadow on Nagpur’s journey to becoming a Smart City.

In the race against time, with the deadline fast approaching, NSSCDCL has turned to NMC’s e-governance department for the integration of smart kiosks with civic services, hoping to salvage a semblance of success from the ongoing challenges. The saga of Nagpur’s Smart City Mission continues, with the city and its residents eagerly awaiting the promised transformation.

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