According to a Chennai Corporation official, the civic body recently cancelled the smart poles project that was being implemented under the Nirbhaya Fund to ensure the safety of women in the city. “The smart poles project was about to be implemented at a cost of around Rs. 120 crore. As it has been cancelled, the funds will be utilized for women’s hotels, “ the official said.
He added that sites for the new hostels for working women are being identified. Once the sites are identified further work, including designing and tendering, would commence
A few weeks ago, the civic body had cancelled the smart poles project and tenders floated to implement the project citing irregularities in the tender process.
Once the proposal of hostels for working women takes shape, this would be the first working women’s hostel run by the civic body. Presently, the civic body runs shelters for homeless persons at more than 50 locations.
When asked the official about the status of around 40 smart poles that are functioning already, he said that the smart poles are being used by the police to monitor traffic violations. A few poles have weather systems and rain gauges, which will continue to function. “The poles are on city main roads and cameras have been fixed in a way to monitor traffic signals.”
Under the Nirbhaya Fund, the civic body has been sanctioned Rs 425 crore by the state and central governments to implement women safety projects. Such projects are being implemented along with the city police and transport department.
It can be recalled that the civic body announced a project to construct hostels for working women at several places when there was an elected council under then-Mayor Saidai Duraisamy a few years ago. However, the project never saw light due to internal reasons.