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The Hindu
The Hindu
Special Correspondent

State govt. faulted for delay in Smart Cities projects

Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of Northeast G. Kishan Reddy accused the TRS government of not releasing 50% matching grants for the Smart Cities Mission for Warangal and Karimnagar even after the Centre released ₹392 crore out of the allocated ₹1,000 crore.

The Telangana government released only ₹210 crore of the ₹392 crore of its matching State share and this too was done last year when the Central government has been releasing funds for the project since 2015-16, he said, in a statement released to the media on Wednesday.

While a timely release of matching state share contribution would have ensured Warangal and Karimnagar to have better drainage and sewerage facilities to cope with the recent floods better, the State government released funds after a severe lag that too due to “pressure from the Centre”, he said.

The Secunderabad MP stated that apart from the ‘Smart Cities Mission’, the BJP-led NDA government has ₹2,780 crore under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) 2.0, while 66 projects worth ₹1,660 crore were a part of the approved plan for the first phase of ARMUT covering 12 cities in the State.

“In the Telangana government, important ministries of Finance, Health, Medical and Family Welfare, Irrigation, Land and Revenue, Commercial Taxes, Mining, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Industries, etc., are handled by members of one family. Never before have so much ministerial and administrative powers been vested on so few for so long in spite of such poor performance,” he charged.

The Minister has accused MA&UD Minister K.T. Rama Rao of “falsely” claiming that the Centre did not release “even 1 rupee” in the last three years for Smart Cities in Telangana when the blame “squarely lies” on the TRS government which did not allocate its share as a part of the matching grant.

Warangal was selected in May 2016 and Karimnagar in June 2017 for the Smart Cities Mission, and from 2015-2016 till 2019-2020, the State government had neither made any matching grants nor efficiently utilised the amount released by Centre with just 80% of the ₹392 crore released utilised in the last two years and 40% of it in 2021-2022, he said.

The State government had released its share of ₹50 crore only in 2021-2022 and moreover, even the ₹196 crore given by the Centre was not released “diverting the money for other uses” before finally transferring to Warangal smart city. Another ₹32 crore was released for five heritage city projects in Warangal, he said.

The Minister said Karimnagar too has not received the full State matching share of ₹196 crore and the equal amount released by the Centre was issued in two instalments - in the current financial year and the previous financial year, which is a delay of more than six years.

The State Finance Minister himself had acknowledged that the matching State share in 2019 and 2020 has been ‘nil’ in Budget speech. “Therefore, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s family is better advised to focus on allocations made rather than blame the Centre,” he added, in his note.

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