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State govt asked to monitor smart city fund use

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 13 - The Gauhati High Court, in a recent order over a PIL, directed the Principal Secretary of the State Finance Department to constitute a committee of senior officers and experts, including from the police and the field of finance, for monitoring the utilisation of fund lying unutilised with the Guwahati Smart City Limited (GSCL).

The court also made it clear that the constitution of the committee was not to create impediments in the bid process or implementation of the project.

�The committee must make sure that the processes are not delayed, rather with their assistance, are speeded up,� the court order said.

The court further directed the authorities concerned to allow the GSCL to utilise the available infrastructures like network, data centre, traffic points, power infrastructure, etc. for speedy implementation of the project.

�For the said purpose, the court expects all the agencies concerned like PWD (Roads), GMC, AMTRON, BSNL, APDCL, etc. and all other relevant agencies would provide necessary permission and cooperation as required by the service provider and the GSCL for speedy implementation of the project,� the order observed.

Notably, a huge fund, amounting to Rs 417.89 crore, is lying unutilised with the GSCL. In this regard, the court said, �We find that money running into hundreds of crores has been parked by the company, including with private entities. Receipt of a higher rate of interest cannot be the only criteria for such deposit. Surely, there would be guidelines issued by the Government of India in this regard which need to be considered by this Court. Accordingly, we hereby direct Mr D Saikia, learned counsel for the State of Assam, and also Prashant Dhanda, Managing Director, Guwahati Smart City Limited, to apprise the Court regarding the regulations relating to deposit of funds received for various projects while the funds are lying unutilised.�

The court also directed the GSCL Managing Director to produce Smart City Mission guidelines and various advisories of the Ministry of Urban Development by way of filling affidavit so that the court is in a better position to appreciate and enable various public utility projects for Guwahati and to initiate the bidding process, strictly in accordance with law as soon as possible.

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