Citizens object to wasteful spending on `smart’ projects

Want A Say In Execution Of Schemes
The residents of Aundh, Baner and Balewadi have objected to what they call “wasteful expenditure“ on Smart City projects, including free Wi-Fi facility. They have now demanded citizens’ participation in the implementation and decision-making of these schemes.The residents said they were opposed to expenditure incurred and proposed on such projects.

“They (authorities) have not taken into consideration the needs and demands of the people here,“ Aundh Baner Balewadi Pashan Vikas Manch, an umbrella organization of various citizens’ groups, stated in a statement issued on behalf of the residents.

“Electronic signage put up on various roads have no utility and no purpose for common citizens.We do not want our hardearned money to be spent on the signage as this is nothing, but utter waste of public money. There is also a proposal to install Wi-Fi towers across Pune. We don’t need free Wi-Fi, which will eventually be paid from our taxes. Let private companies provide this facility through their corporate social responsibility initiatives. We don’t want a single rupee be spent on such projects,“ the Manch stated.The residents want their participation be made mandatory in the decision-ma king process of the Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL).

Vaishali Patkar, president of Aundh Vikas Mandal, told TOI, “It is not only about Aundh, Baner and Balewadi. The civic body and PSCDCL must consult each and every citizens to be affected by Smart City projects. People’s participation and consent is a must for the success of any project. Citizens are the stakeholders and must not be left out of the planning and execution of projects.“

Ravindra Sinha of Ba ner Pashan Link Road Vikas Samiti said, “There is no point in pushing projects when people are not happy about them. Citizens’ forums from Aundh, Baner and Balewadi have not been consulted in any decision taken by the PSCDCL so far.“

“The Smart City road from Bremen Chowk to Parihar Chowk is an example of how funds have been wasted in cosmetic touchups. There are hundreds of traffic violations on this section daily, making commuting here more difficult.We urge the authorities to consult the citizens by issuing notices of public meetings before arriving at any decision. The citizens can be informed via social media,“ the citizens said.

Following the demands made by the citizens, guardian minister Girish Bapat has assured to take corrective steps.

The minister has ordered the Pune Municipal Corporation and PSCDCL to take citizens into confidence while deciding and implementing Smart City projects. Bapat told media that no projects will be forced on citizens.

Source : TOI