Coimbatore Smart City Limited will soon be able to sanction projects up to Rs 15 crore, thanks to a decision by the state government to entrust additional powers to the special purpose vehicle (SPV) created to implement ‘Smart City’ works. The current upper cap for the company is Rs 6.5 crore.
With increase in the cap, the corporation will be able to roll out smart city projects at a faster pace.
An official from the corporation said, “SPVs are only allowed to clear projects up to Rs 6.5 crore. But most of the projects including solar panels, multi-level car parking, park renovation and various other projects cost more than Rs 6.5 crore.”
“We have to travel to Chennai to get sanction for every project above the cap. It consumes time and delays the projects. Also, every time senior bureaucrats suggest changes in the proposal further delaying the projects,” he added.
The Chennai Corporation has an upper cap of Rs 10 crore. Chennai corporation’s upper cap will be extended up to Rs 25 crore. “The state government has decided to empower SPVs to grant sanction to projects up to Rs 25 crore. This will fast track the sanctioning process as well as the implementation of the projects,’’ said a senior officer from Chennai Corporation.
The officials of the greater Chennai corporation said that a meeting was held recently regarding this and the top government authorities have agreed for the change. “Earlier the SPV board from Chennai and other 10 corporations in the state can sanction projects up to Rs 10 crore and Rs 6.5 crore respectively whereas projects above that would go to the state high power committee. The committee would meet only once in three months. Only then the projects would be sanctioned, delaying the whole process,’’ said an officer in the corporation.
The state high power committee comprises municipal administration and water supply secretary, finance secretary, chairman of the Tamil Nadu Urban Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation (TUFIDCO), among others.
“The SPVs are formed as a company and should comply to companies act. But they continue to be run as an extension of a government department as there is a three-tier system for approving the projects that are stuck due to red tape. But other smart city SPVs across the country such as the company in Bhuvaneshwar have been given complete authority to sanction projects worth any amount at any time. Unless such independence is allowed, it is difficult to implement projects such as smart city,” said a smart city consultant.