The World Bank now wants to turn Allahabad into a Smart City, full of greenery and with facilities for pure drinking water, an excellent sewerage system and a network of flyovers to prevent traffic jams. The World Bank has agreed to finance the entire City Development Plan for which Rs3000 crores have been proposed.
A two-member team of a foreign company arrived in Allahabad to assess the situation. They met the Mayor Mrs Abhilasha Gupta, the ADA Vice Chairman A.K.Singh, Municipal Commissioner Raghvendra Vikkram Singh for about two hours. But the Development Plan will be drawn by the visiting Company. Before any work can start the city will be thoroughly surveyed to find out what can be constructed where. The survey team will be divided in two groups one headed by the Mayor and will have representation from all departmental heads. A question was raised about who will provide finance for the maintenance of the Smart City. The 2006 Development Plan, prepared by a Delhi firm, was rejected on account of several flaws. Only proposals on sewerage and water project were approved. The visiting team pointed out to the several drawbacks in the context of the present requirements and also said that at that time a proper survey of the city was not done. This time a thorough survey will have to be carried out before a plan is drawn up. The company representatives want maximum people’s participation in the formulation of the plan.
We fully agree with what the new team intends to do. But we will like to lay down a condition. The execution of the project should not be in local hands. The plan should be implemented entirely under the supervision of a World Bank team which will qualitatively assess all work before giving approval. And we have strong reasons to make this demand. The work on Mahakumbh projects was left largely in local hands—the local contractors, supervisors , engineers and the rest of them. The constrution works started giving way even before they were complete. And those that were completed, have mostly collapsed. A look at the city roads will convince the World Bank surveyors that a big fraud was committed by using substandard material. Our roads give the appearance of a city bombarded by the enemy. They can be seen broken, battered, tattered at almost all places. Those responsible for this are as much the enemies of the country as those who harm us from outside. In fact they are worse because they have betrayed our trust that we blindly reposed in them.