Mangaluru, Dec 5, 2020: Every citizen of this coastal city wants Mangaluru to be a Smart City. There can be no doubt about that. But the question is- at what cost?. Today going to the heart of the city-Hampankatta has become a nightmare of sorts-thanks to the Smart City works.
Simultaneous road works taken up near Navabharath Circle, Hampankatta and Carstreet has resulted in chaos on the roads though some measures were taken on an immediate basis following uproar all over. This was done after the local MLA convened an emergency meeting.
Many questioned the haste with which works are taken up simultaneously least bothering about the inconveniences caused to the lay man. It is a known fact that none of the road projects in Mangaluru can be termed complete in the truest sense as in most cases only roads are concretised with no measure taken to lay footpaths. If that is not suffice works are never completed on time.
Given this scenario, one can very well imagine the plight when simultaneous works are taken up on some prominent roads particularly in a city where traffic congestion is not uncommon.
The opposition Congress in Mangaluru was quick to take up this issue and has since then left no stone unturned to corner the ruling dispensation.
MCC Opposition leader Abdul Ravoof said the City Corporation was in an undue haste to exhaust the Smart City funds. He alleged that there lacked co-ordination between Smart City Project authorities and MCC. Neither do they have any vision, he said and alleged that works are being undertaken indiscriminately. On the other hand, District Youth Congress President Mithun Rai squarely blamed local MLA Vedavyas Kamath and said businesses which were on the road to recovery in Hampankatta area after the Covid lockdown are once again in distress. He also accused the BJP MLA of resorting to Tughlaq Darbar which however was refuted by the MLA who in turn blamed the Congress of doing Tughlaq Darbar during its rule in the city.
Former MLA JR Lobo went on to say that the Smart project is troubling people. He also wanted to know the reason behind the urgency in the excution of thje works.
Former MLC and Congress leader Ivan D’Souza has already demanded a high level probe into the Mangaluru Smart City project. D’Souza said that the probe should be conducted either by the Anti Corruption Bureau or the Lokayukta. He said that the project cost got escalated by three times from the initial estimated cost. People were suspicious over the cost as well as the detailed project report, he said. He was also quick to point out that despite two years of the commencement of the Smart City project, not a single work has been completed.
All said and done, political blame game is sure to continue for some more time as leaders always look for issues that can be a tool to target the opponent. But ultimately it is genuine concern that matters. Only a genuine concern for the development of the city can lead to better projects executed in a better way causing minimal inconvenience to the people. That is what people of the coastal city expect from the Smart City Project right now.