In January 2016, Belagavi was selected in the first 20 cities which were to become Smart under the Ambitious smart city project.
Some of the works are in progress and some have been stalled and in many, we have found out that it is due to the objections raised by the Cantonment board Belagavi.
The Cantonment is the heart of the city and hence for many projects, the land in use belongs to the cantonment.
Let us have a look at projects which are moving very slowly or stopped due to the series of objections raised by the Cantonment board:
Smart Private bus stand opposite the Railway station –
The project was begun where the CEO of the Cantonment board only performed the pooja of the work. But the very next day when the contractors went on-site, they were shooed away saying the land belongs to them and they have to get clearance from the centre.
Smart City Bus stand
The Belagavi City Bus Stand redevelopment which has been planned under the Smart city project is in doldrums as the Cantonment board Belagavi has raised issues that it’s land has been used without their permission. The City Bus stand was planned in 2.07 acres out of which 32 gunthas land belongs to the Cantonment and no prior permission was taken from them.
The issue here is NWKRTC has no money to pay for the land nor alternate land so this project will be kept like this hanging until when Only the Gods can tell.
Now this road which was started as the lead project is in shambles for various reasons which include an unclear land title and also some Objections by the Defense Department, we have heard.
Congress Road – Cycle track, Drain and Footpath –
Now majorly the road work is complete on one side (Railway line) but the work on Footpath, Drain/ Cycle track from Nanawadi cross to Gogte circle has not been done as the Cantonment board has not allowed them to do so.
Fort moat development –
BSCL has prepared an action plan with an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore plan giving the title ‘fort and moat’ to it in the first phase on a priority basis. Provisions have been made to beautify the fort from the inside, the open areas in the fort which is spread over in 1 km radius. The moat surrounded to the fort is planned to clean and rejuvenated.
But the Cantonment board is not giving permission for the same and the entire process is been delayed as the files have been sent to the centre for clearance. This is a very ambitious project which can change the entire landscape of tourism in Belagavi.
But since day one the Defense Department has not given clearance for the development of the fort nor is it also cleaning the fort. The Moat and the walls are filled up with shrubs and many sides of the walls are falling down.
If on priority the work of the development is taken the 800+ year-old fort can get back its grandeur.
So is Cantonment board a spoiled sport for the Smart city project?