Smart City Mission and J&K State

Under the flagship scheme of the NDA Government, the Smart City Mission, two rotational capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar are slated to be developed as modern smart cities like other 28 more out of the total list of 30 announced by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Development early last year. So far so good but, as against the demand of first instalment of Rs.195 crore, the state has received Rs.40 crore only. Who is to be blamed for that, not obviously the Central Government but the State Government itself in that it has failed to make the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) functional by appointing full time Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and other key managerial posts.
Other cities which were selected during even the third round, have already obtained substantial funds but only after meeting the stipulations laid down by the Union Ministry. The  obsolete “habit” of the State Administration claiming and receiving funds first and completing the stipulated formalities later, traditionally in most of the cases, has  become stale and now it is the other way round., i.e. complete in full the stipulated formalities to claim funds.
The cardinal requirements preceding funds receipts are preparation of Detailed Project Report, making SPVS functional, appointment of PMCs, preparation of Request for Proposals – all to be completed within a period of 15 months from the date of selection of the Smart City before the project could be started. It would be pertinent to point out and could cause surprise too, that none of these activities have been completed in Jammu and Kashmir. Perhaps a period of 13 months, going by the standards of benchmarks established in the state in such issues, unfortunately, is “too short” a period to accomplish the mandatory task.
Since every one living in the state would like to see our two capital cities as Smart Cities, it is expected that full time Chief Executive Officers were appointed without any further delay as also Special Purpose Vehicles made functional, the two major immediate impediments in the release of first instalment in full without any cut or any slicing by the concerned Union Ministry. Once done, a time frame too could be specified for start of work on development of these two cities as modern and smart ones.