This smart city reached ninth position in the Smart Cities Ranking
SMART CITIES

This smart city reached ninth position in the Smart Cities Ranking

Under the Smart Cities Mission, Solapur City Development (SCDCL) has installed LED street lights and e-toilets for approximately 500,000 pilgrims visiting the Siddheshwar temple. Trimbak Dhengale Patil, CEO, shares more on the progress… Benefit of events like Smart Urbanation (...

Under the Smart Cities Mission, Solapur City Development (SCDCL) has installed LED street lights and e-toilets for approximately 500,000 pilgrims visiting the Siddheshwar temple. Trimbak Dhengale Patil, CEO, shares more on the progress… Benefit of events like Smart Urbanation (SU) to India’s Smart City Mission Events such as these facilitate the exchange of ideas. People are made aware of the programmes undertaken by their cities while also providing solutions to problems. Pace of progress under the Smart Cities Mission We have made tremendous progress and reached the ninth rank. The city has a total of 50 projects, of which 34 have been completed and the rest are ongoing. Ten of these projects will be finished in three months and the rest will be completed within the stipulated time. Impact of the pandemic on project timelines Our road projects were halted as labourers were also impacted and we did see delays in our project timelines and doled out some extensions. But we are picking up pace again and will make up the gap. Upcoming tenders and projects in the city We have finished the tendering process for all 50 of our projects; 49 of these have received work orders. Only one project is lingering and that is steady water supply. This is a dream project of the city and receives 40-45 per cent of our funds. It was delayed owing to the pandemic. And because of the price rise in steel, we lost our contractors. We have now floated a revised tender. Dream project We revised the scope of our water supply project from 110 mld to 170 mld, taking into consideration the demand for the next two to three decades. The cost has gone from Rs430 crore to Rs 639 crore. The tender has already been floated and the work order will follow soon after. It will be a big push to the city because we will be able to provide water once a day to the entire region. Biggest achievement and challenge in the Smart Cities Mission There is a need to increase projects that are efficient. This has facilitated some out-of-the-box thinking from the Government. There is a misconception that just by doing civil work, a city can become a smart city. But this can only happen if there is a change in the thinking of the citizens and they keep an open mind. Thoughts on 18 per cent GST on smart cities Initially, for the first five years, 12 per cent GST had been applicable. In projects like solid waste management, there was none. Now, it has increased from 12 to 18 per cent. For projects that cost so much, this per cent is a very large amount and, essentially, the amount for the increased tax is being paid to the Centre out of the amount the Centre itself provides as grants for the smart city initiatives. So, it would be beneficial if there were no GST for projects under the Smart Cities Mission to be able to use the money allocated to its potential. Currently, the money is just going around in circles.

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