Shaikh Jamaluddin | NT
PANAJI: Panaji city’s fee fall in the latest edition of the Swachh Survekshan from 155th in 2018 to 337 this year will surely not come as a surprise to not only frequent visitors but even to the tourists coming here.
Even after expenditure of crores of rupees, there has not been much improvement in the traffic infrastructure; many garbage black spots also are still persisting.
Many traffic islands that were damaged by motorists have been left unattended.
From KTC bus terminus till the heart of city, at many spots, a visitor is greeted by damaged traffic islands, broken promenades, garbage dark spots, open trenches posing dangers to motorists as well as pedestrians, open gutters, bumpy roads et al which need urgent attention from the authorities concerned.
The neglect of traffic islands, roads, and other facilities gives a bad impression to the visitors, particularly, tourists and so they too show neglect.
Citizens expect at least some cosmetic changes to be done to improve Panaji’s smart city rankings.
Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) as the programme management unit for Smart City along with the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) is actively working towards ensuring compliance to achieve the benchmark set by the winning cities based on the observations made by the panel of experts on how improvement can be made in each proposal despite which the ranking has slid to 337th position.
The central government had launched its flagship programme – the Smart Cities Mission to encourage cities to compete and participate in the smart cities challenge which was rigorously evaluated by a panel of experts, which included institutions such as World Bank, Asian Development Bank, London School of Economics and National Institute for Urban Affairs etc.
The overall cap for the first round of selection was for 20 cities which are being selected on merit on the basis of scoring as per the Smart Cities Mission guidelines.
Ministry of Urban Development has emphasised on providing an opportunity to all the states/union territories to upgrade their proposals by a special fast-track mechanism in which 23 cities from their respective states/union territories in which none of the potential cities were able to come in the list of top 20 smart cities.
The city of Panaji had scored 52.99 per cent and ranked 32 in the overall listing and 5th in the list of cities to be upgraded at a fast track as was published by the Ministry of Urban Development. It may also be noted that the cut off for winning city proposal was 55.47 per cent which was achieved by Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, and Panaji has missed to be in the first list of winning cities by a meager 2.48 per cent.