Five years after the announcement that Bengaluru was selected under the National Smart Cities Mission, the projects implemented by the Bengaluru Smart City Limited (BenSCL), a Special Purpose Vehicle to implement the projects under the mission, is finally taking shape.
BenSCL officials said they plan to complete all the projects by the end of the year. “The deadline to complete all the projects is July 2023. However, most of our projects are in the final stages and we look forward to completing them by the end of the year. Only a few works may take a little longer and spill over to the next year,” said Rajendra Cholan, Managing Director, BenSCL.
BenSCL has taken up work to the tune of Rs 936 crore under four main categories: Road Infrastructure, Historical Area Redevelopment, Integrated Mobility, and Information Technology.
Under Road Infrastructure, 32 major roads in the Central Business District (CBD) were taken up to be redeveloped on similar lines to TenderSURE roads. A total of 29.53 km is being covered at Rs 436 crore. “The roads developed under this model have a prime focus on pedestrians and cyclists. Also, they have a wide sidewalk along with a dedicated utility duct for storm water drains, power, sewer, and other services,” a BenSCL engineer said.
Among the 32 roads, work on 29 roads has been completed and the remaining three are nearing completion, BenSCL officials said. However, most of the roads were completed only recently, after missing multiple deadlines. “Since most of the roads were in the CBD area, which experienced heavy footfall and traffic density, we needed more time to complete. Also, coordinating with other civic agencies to ensure their utilities are not damaged and are laid intact was a challenge,” a senior BenSCL engineer said.
On the concerns about the quality of the work, since a few streets were flooded owing to heavy rains the city witnessed recently, Cholan said they had been rectified. “Under BenSCL, we take up individual roads and we are not aware of the complete stormwater drain networks. In fact, the network is not well defined in places and rainwater flows into the redeveloped street from the adjacent streets which are not under our purview. However, after such instances were reported, we have rectified them,” he said.
He added that all the projects come with a three-year defect liability period and will be handed over to BBMP after that. “Rs 200 crore has been earmarked specifically for the maintenance of works taken up under these projects,” he added.
Apart from the road infrastructure projects, a number of projects have been taken up in the health sector. From supplying medical equipment to government hospitals to setting up smart virtual clinics, close to Rs 85 crore has been spent on various projects taken up in this sector.
KR Market development
Also, under the remodeling of historical economic centres, development works are in progress at KR Market and the adjacent meat market at Rs 34.67 crore. Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium building is also being developed under the green building concept at an estimated cost of Rs 31.19 crore
In the mobility sector, junctions and subways have been improved to provide better access to transport hubs. Subways and junctions around KR Market have also been given a modern look. Recently, a Multi-Level Car Parking (MLCP) project at Gandhi Bazaar has gathered pace.
BenSCL has also contributed to 50 electric buses to be run by BMTC along with setting up fast charging stations across the city. Landscaping, upgrading, and beautification of Cubbon Park are also in progress. On the technology end, BenSCL has also funded 65 smart classrooms to be set up across BBMP schools.
To improve coordination between various civic agencies in the city and to enable better decision-making, an Integrated Command Center (ICC) is being set up at a cost of Rs 96 crore.